King Of Fighters '98-Yamazaki FAQ
V. 1.1 last updated 1/29/2004
By Julian Blake (
Sections Covered:
-Why was this FAQ created?
-Move Legend
-What are Yamazaki's strengths?
-What are Yamazaki's weaknesses?
-Strategies and Tactics
-Revision history
-Contact Info

Welcome to the KOF '98 Yamazaki FAQ.  This FAQ is best viewed in Notepad
maximized.  I'm an avid KOF player and even though KOF '98 is over four years
old now I'm still playing the game and learning everytime I play.  The purpose
of this FAQ is to explain Yamazaki to players new to using him, and to
(hopefully) teach a player who's been using him for a while something new.  I
will include full moveslist and combos, but you will find that all of my FAQs
will have more emphasis on strategy and tactics than many other fighting game
character FAQs out there.  If you know any strategies, combos, or any other
Yamazaki-related material I missed, please contact me (info at the end of FAQ)
to help me make the most complete FAQ possible.  Thanks!

-Why was this FAQ created?
The biggest reason is because Gamefaqs didn't have a FAQ for Yamazaki in KOF
'98.  He's one of my favorite characters in KOF '98, and I was surprised that
no one else had devoted a FAQ to him in the four years that KOF '98 has been
out.  Not a heck of a lot of people use Yama, and even fewer know how to use
him WELL. So in a way this FAQ is to fill a void in KOF info available online. 
Another reason is because I think that while Yamazaki does have some rough
matchups, he is underrated and can be extremely powerfull and damaging if used
correctly.  So, mostly for informational purposes.

-Move Legend
(For a full explanation of the KOF '98 basic gameplay engine, please check
KaoMegura's KOF '98 FAQ, this FAQ assumes you know the basics of KOF '98

I will make up my own move legend to explain what the inputs on the movelist
and combo sections mean.  It will be as simple as possible so that you don't
have to stumble over archaic jargon to understand what a motion should be.  If
you can read other KOF and SF FAQs with no problem you can skip this section
because I don't make up any terms here.

All things directions, and motions with the joystick will be done in undercase
letters, and all buttons will be in upper case letters.  So f+A means press the
joystick forward, and press the A button at the same time.  Button notation is
in neo geo format since this FAQ is for the arcade/neo geo version of the game
only, but you can translate A,B,C and D into Weak Punch, Weak Kick, Strong
Punch, and Strong Kick if trying to use this FAQ with console ports of KOF '98.

d: Down
u: Up
f: Forward towards the opponent
b: Back away from the opponent
/: Used for diagonal directions, for example diagonal down towards the opponent
would be d/f
+: Means two inputs are done at the same time, like
st: While you're standing
cr: While you're crouching
qcf: Short for Quarter Circle Forward, done by pressing down, down/Forward, f
hcf: Short for Half Circle forward, done by pressing b,b/d,d,d/f,f
hcb: hcf with directions reversed
dp: Dragon Punch motion, press f, d,d/f
rdp:Dragon punch motion with directions revered.
XX: A move cancelled into another move, the second move being done before the
first move is completed.

Movelist is divided into three sections:  Normal moves, Special Moves, and
Super moves.  For quick reference after each move in parenthesis will be a
rating out of five points in terms of usefullness.  A (1/5) means that the move
is rarely, if ever usefull, there's absolutely no reason to use this move
because there's always a better option.  A (5/5) rating means that the move is
exceptionally good, very safe to use and should be one of your main weapons
with Yamazaki.


Command attacks:
f+A(2/5)-The second hit is an overhead unless you cancel into it, decent
against crouching opponents but use sparingly.

hcb,f+P(4/5)-Yamazaki command throw.  Does more damage than a normal throw and
out-prioritizes more attacks.  Obviously you have to be in throw range to pull
it off or else Yamazaki will do a "whiff" animation and will take a few frames
to recover.

Close standing A(1/5)- A very slow gut punch.  Can combo into stuff but I don't
really see why you would use it often.

Far standing A(2.5/5)- A decent speed jab, not spectacular.

Crouching A(3/5)- A decent poke that can combo into certain moves, fairly good.

Jumping A(2.5/5)- Can out-prioritize a heavy jump attack if it has startup
time, but there are better options.
Close standing B(3.5/5)-Pretty good move.  A low shin kick, the animation is
subtle and can be missed in the heat of battle, comboable and good priority, a
good attack.

Far standing B(2=1.5/5)-Kind of slow, doesn't combo, no real use.

Crouching B(3/5)-Pretty fast for Yama being such a big guy, a good close range

Jumping B(2.5/5)-You have to press B late in the jump against grounded
opponents and you have to press it as late as possible if you want to combo
after it.  Mediocre.
Close standing C(4/5)-Great move!  Can combo into everything, quick, good

Far standing C(1.5/5)-Uh, slow and doesn't combo into anything, I don't see the

Crouching C(3.5/5)-Yama rises up and backhands the opponent.  Can combo into
snakearm, the knife move (DP+P) and the QCF+P afterwards.  Seems to snuff a
decent amount of attacks including jump-ins.  It's a bit too slow to rate any
higher than 3.5.

Jumping C (3.0/5)-Yama jumps and does an uppercut with his hand.  The hit box
for this move is weird, it's his whole arm including the armpit, not just the
fist.  You can use it as a jump-in to combo after.  It's a better air-to-air
attack than jumping D is, but against standing opponents you have to be closer
to land it.
Close standing D(4.5/5)- Ryuji does a real leg roundhouse kick for two hits.
This move is cancellable, you can do any of his specials, or his throw DM
before the second hit of the roundhouse kick hits, and it will combo.  Since
Yamazaki has very long legs, unlike other close attacks, you don't have to be
in throw-range to execute this move, you can actually be two steps distance
from the opponent, and Close standing D will still come out instead of far
standing D.

Far Standing D(4/5)-  Yamzaki turns and back kicks the opponent.  This is good
as a poke because of it's incredible reach, you can land a few of these in a
match because of the reach it has, and the damage will add up.  A bit slow
startup and recovery though.

Crouching D(2.5/5)- Has very long range, but is extremely punishable unlike
some other characters with quick trips (Terry etc).  Do as a change up to your
high low game, and when your opponent makes a big mistake that you can get a
free trip in.  Very punishable!

Jumping D(1.5/5)-  Yamazaki in case you haven't noticed, has really crappy
Jump-ins.  This kick has a downward angle on it, and this move trades with most
attacks, uh, don't use it much.
CD attacks:

Standing- Yama rears back, then does a headbutt move.  Will knock the opponent
down, but has a few frames of startup, not sure which moves this beats. If you
need a standing attack, use st. D instead for better priority, range, and
recovery time.

Jumping- He jumps in the air and locks both fists together and punches with
them, if you time it properly you can use it as an air-to-air, you have to make
sure his startup time is over by the time he meets the opponent in the air.

-Special Moves

The Snakearm (qcb+A,B, or C)-Actually is three seperate moves with different
uses. On all snakearms, the button can be held down and the move will be
executed when the button is released.  Yamazaki can charge a snakearm by
holding down the button used to execute for 6 seconds before he automatically
goes back to his neutral stance.


A Button(3.5/5)-Yamazaki snaps his arm upwards quickly.  Decent anti-air from
it's small startup time, but it trades hits with the opponent too often.

B Button(4/5)-Yamazaki whips his arm horizontally.  Great move because of it's
great speed, and good reach.  Use it to interrupt the opponent in the middle of
moves.  Has small recovery time afterwards.

C Button(3/5)-Yamazaki whips his arm downwards.  Seems about the same as B
version with less horzontal range... not sure exactly what it's more usefull
than B version snakearm.  Interestingly, it pushes you back slightly less than
the B version does, so against a cornered opponent C version might be usefull
to keep the pressure on.

All snakearms can be cancelled instantly by pressing D while while charging
them.  This is extremely usefull because when you are charging a snakearm you
aren't committed to executing it.  If you do a snakearm and cancel it quickly
over and over again, you can build a quite a but of super meter relatively
safely.  This is only suggested for when you're winning by a good margin, and
need meter however.
dp+P(4/5)-Yamazaki rushes forward and makes multiple knife slashes.  The A
version does 2 slashes, the C version does 4.  I usually use the C version only
because they're both punishable if blocked, so I might as well get the chip
damage in that the C version does.  A very good move.  It does good damage,
does good chip damage, and keeps pressure on.  Also usefull for getting the
opponent in the corner with it's horizontal movement.  Use sparingly unless you
combo into it from standing C or a cancelled close standing D because they're
punishable if blocked.

dp+B(4.5/5)-Yamazaki does an axe kick from above for two hits.  The second hit
has to be blocked high, if it hits a crouching opponent they will be knocked
down.  If they block the first hit (which can be blocked either high or low
successfully) they can start blocking high inbetween hits to avoid a knockdown
however.  VERY usefull because of most player's habit of crouch blocking when
they stand up after a knockdown.  The first hit also seems to have decent
anti-air properties.  More uses for this move in the strategies section.

dp+D (4/5)- Yamazaki kicks upwards, spraying dirt in the opponent's eye.  On
it's own it is punishable if blocked, but you can follow it up with a B version
snakearm, which will push you out of the way of punishment if they block it.
You can also combo it into a snakearm if it isn't blocked, a very usefull
attack but harder to land than the DP+B.

qcf+A (3.5/5) Yamazaki does an uppercut, can be used as an anti-air.  Also if
an opponent throws a fireball, you can absorb the FB with this move, and
Yamazaki will take no damage and you will gain some meter.  You have to time it
well to use it against fireballs or else Yamazaki will take damage.

qcf+C (4/5) Yamazaki does the same motion as above, with the same startup and
recovery time.  However instead of absorbing a fireball, if one hits yamazaki
during certain frames of the move he will absorb it, then turn it into his own
fireball (a red one that looks like blood) and reflect it back at the opponent!
 This is a GREAT move.  The fireball that Yama sends back at the opponent is
extremely fast, if not the fastest fireball in the game.  Also the reflected
fireball will go through any other non-DM fireballs.  You have to time it
correctly when you see the opponent do a fireball, but they will be surprised
by the speed of this fireball quite a bit.  His QCF+P moves both make it so
that fireballs have very little effect on Yamazaki, in fact fireballing HELPS
Yamazaki if you time it correctly.  I use the C version more than the A
version, the timing is the same on both.

hcf+K(4/5) one of the better reversals in the game.  Yamazaki goes into a
taunting stance, and if hit (by certain attacks) he will counter the opponent
with a dashing uppercut.  What is so usefull about this move is that it can
counter almost anything.  Any standing or jumping attack, it will counter. It
counters multi-hit dashing DMs such as Ryo's Ryuku Ranbuu.  It can't counter
fireballs (DM or normal FBs) or trips, and you can also be thrown out of it.
One of Yamazaki's best anti-airs but you have to use as little as possible,
otherwise a smart opponent will jump at you and not attack, and you will be
taunting until the opponent throws or trips you.  Note that the counter hits
the opponent even if they attack you from behind!

-Desperation Moves (DMs)
qcfx2+P (4/5): Yamazaki rises into the air with an uppercut. If the opponent
gets hit by the uppercut, then Yamazaki will grab then on the way down and drag
them on the ground, ending with a kick for more damage.  If you miss the
upwards punch, while you're comming down if you touch them and they're not
blocking you can still drag them on the ground for the second part of the DM
(usefull for when an opponent is half a screen away from you and misses a DM).
Unfortunately for some reason the super can hit someone on the way up and
occasionally he won't catch them on the way down to drag them for more
damage... sometimes the upward punch seems to knock the opponent too high for
Yama to catch them.  You seem to have better chances of success with it if you
catch the opponent when they jump in deep, and when they're not high in a jump.
 Not the most reliable, but when you have meter it's Yamazaki's best anti-air
attack.  The SDM version of this move adds more kicks after you drag them on
the ground for more damage.

In close, hcb, hcb+P then press P rapidly(4/5):  This is a DM throw, meaning
you have to be in throw range to hit the opponent
with it.  Yamazaki grabs the opponent, then punches them up.  While the
opponent is in the air, Yama will hit the opponent a different number of times
depending on how rapidly you pressed P while he is charging.  The more times
you press P after you grab the opponent, the more damage and hits you will do.
The SDM version works the same way but does more hits and damage.

Here is a chart listing first the number of times you pressed the P buttons,
then the number of hits that will result from the DM and SDM. (Credit for the
chart goes to KMegura's excellent KOF '98 FAQ/Movelist)

Button presses/hits



Yamazaki has quite a few combos in KOF '98, but some of them definately have
few or no advantages over his main bread and butter combos.  Most of these
combos can be done after a jump in, that means that though no jump in is
listed, you can add one to the beginning of the combo and the whole thing will
chain together.

st. B> st. B> st. B
st. A> qcb+B or C
st. A> Command throw

st. C> dp+C
st. C> qcb+B or qcb+ C

st. C> dp+D
st. C> dp+D>qcb+B or C
st. C> Command throw

st. D XX dp+D
st. D XX qcb+B

Combos into DM/SDM:
St. D XX hcbx2+P
St. C> hcbx2+P

-What are Yamazaki's strengths?
Yamazaki has quite a few strengths.  One of them is that he has extremely good
mind-games.  A properly played Yamazaki will always make the opponent guess
whether to block high or low, whether to throw a fireball or not, whether to
attack with a jump in, or if they should roll towards him.  Another of his
strengths is his excellent zoning ability.  Yamazaki at the right distances can
keep hitting a standing opponent while they cannot hit him back.  Also Yama
always has the opportunity to get an incredible amount of meter by canceling
snakearms if the opponent gives him space at fullscreen. He also does quite a
lot of damage. He is easy to combo with, and has tons of options which allow
you to innovate on the fly.  He is one of the most versatile characters in the
game.  He's not constantly trying to throw you like Clark (but he can), he's
not trying to constantly chip you to death (but he can).  His versatility
allows him to have 3 distinct playstyles: be a surprisingly good pixie
character with aggressive rushdown to get into the opponent's face after a
knockdown to try to combo into another knockdown, or to trap into a command
throw or DM- or he can also play a very nice passive, defensive character who
tries to keep his distance from opponents.  During this style he is constantly
building meter, and prepares to attack the opponent if they get too close.
Another playstyle that Yamazaki has is the one I think he is strongest in:  A
combination of pixie and Turtle that I call midscreen play.  Yamazaki's
snakearms, standing D's and his 3 counter moves all allow him to be at his
ideal range (zoning), slightly less than half a screen's distance, which allows
him to attack the opponent but not be at a lot of danger himself.  He can play
all three of those character architypes fairly well, when most characters are
forced to play rushdown, or try to use a few small tricks over and over.

-What are Yamazaki's weaknesses?
One of Yamazaki's weaknesses is his speed. Yamazaki is pretty damn slow.  His
running speed is slower than most, and his walking speed is INCREDIBLY slow.
If you want to cover some distance with Yama, you're going to have to run
there, unlike other characters that can walk at a decent speed, you have to run
with Yama to cover any distance before the time runs out!  Also he doesn't have
a reliable anti-air.  Kyo and Iori have much more reliable anti-airs for when
an opponent jumps in.  His best Anti-air being his qcfx2+P DM/SDM is not even
guaranteed, and of course it requiring meter doesn't help it much.  The very
way Yamazaki is designed, you have to be paying about 10x more attention than
your opponent does.  His counter is an excellent move, but you can be tricked
into using it if the opponent falls for it by jump-kicking you.  Often times if
this happens in a match, you can expect the opponent to jump at you, not
attack, and then try to throw, command throw, trip, or DM you.  This means that
when the opponent jumps, you have to actually watch if they attack with a
counterable move, and do the motion for the counter BEFORE the opponent can
attack you with the jump in all in the space of a fraction of a second.  This
is much harder to do than Kyo players who see a jump in and just DP it.

	The timing for his fireball counters is somewhat picky, so you have to learn
to time
it so that the fireball hits Yama at the frames of the move where Yama will
counter it.  The opponent can change the timing of his fireballs from fast to
slow and sit there chilling out hoping one will hit your or it will do block
damage, while you're having to calculate the timing of the fireball and when
you need to start the counter motion.  If the fireball hits you because you
messed up the timing, you can not only take damage, but you will take COUNTER
DAMAGE for the fireball, which is more than a regular fireball.  So the
opponent is risking very little and not stressing his brain, while the Yama
player is risking quite a bit and having to do complex timing.  Also, Yamazaki
does not have good crossup ability, and isn't strong in the air, so
jumping with Yamazaki isn't a great idea most of the time.  Mobility is
Yama's biggest weakness, because you can't keep the threat of a jump in, or a
crossup on your opponent.  Because of bad mobility, Yamazaki is succeptible to
grapplers.  While Yamazaki does have quite a few weaknesses, proper,
thoughtfull play can more than make up for most of them, particularly when
you've got pressure on the opponent.

-Strategies and Tactics
-His walk is so slow that you need to use run more often than with other
characters to cover distance.

-At fullscreen, you can repeatedly cancel snakearms by pressing D to increase
your meter quickly.  This is a good idea at the start of a game to get a small
advantage, or when you are far ahead in life.  Just remember that having meter
can't win a round for you.

-Yamazaki benefits more than other characters from POWing up in terms of how
much damage he causes.  Unless you have a guaranteed SDM, stick with just using
the POW for extra damage on combos because the difference between DM and SDM
damage isn't incredibly obvious and you can do more with comboing than just one
SDM after a POW.

-Yama's dp+B is integral to his mindgames.  You will find on many
opponents that after you knock them down, they will crouch block as they rise.
If they crouch block, try a dp+B to go for another knockdown.  You can also
time it while they are comming up (by dp+B'ing early) so that only the second
hit (the overhead hit) will hit them, so that they can't crouchblock the first
hit, then stand-block the second to avoid a knockdown.

-After a corner knockdown Yamazaki has a ton of options to keep the opponent
Time a meaty standing C so that if it lands you can combo into anything-(if
you can just quickly do dp+D>qcb+C for safe chip damage that can't be
punished), Command throw them as they get up, do
his throw DM, do his counter, trip, normal throw, Overhead with F+A, Overhead
with dp+B, Jump in into DM, or low poke with cr. A and Cr. B.  That is a wide
variety of attacks which all have to be avoided in different ways, by crouch
blocking, block while standing, tech the throw, roll forward, or jump to avoid
the command throw.  Since you're the one starting the guessing game, it should
be to your advantage, and you should do it in a way that it's not punishable or

-You can catch many rolls backwards with a qcfx2+P DM, you will miss the rising
punch, but as you come down they will be in recovery period from the roll and
you can catch them.  You have to do the DM as soon as you see them rear rolling
otherwise it will be too late and they can block it.

-The most important thing to remember with Yama is not to be predictable.  He
can be punished for any of his tricks missing, but if you're constantly
changing what you're trying to make the opponent do, then they will
accidentally play into your hands.  For example, if you counter a jump in with
hcf+P, they will likely try to trick you into doing it again when they jump in,
this time without attacking.  Try doing a qcfx2+P DM, an A-button Snakearm, or
doing the motion for the command throw so that when they land in front of you
they will get thrown.  Vary everything you do and don't over-use any of your

Yasakani- For hosting the KOF tournaments which made me start to play

Dreike-Helped me with general Yamazaki stuff.

Josh the FunkDOC-Always my fighting game think-tank.

And all the oldskool Kaillera players who have actual skills that make the
online KOF community as close-knit as it is.  Hopefully one day in the U.S.
gamers will realize that KOF is also a high-quality game and we can have some
American nationals, or at least more local tournies and KOF support in American
arcades.  Until then, talented U.S. KOFers will have to make do with Netplay
and console.

-Revision History
(v.1.0): 8/22/02-Finally decided to finish this FAQ up and send it to gamefaqs
instead of having it sit on my HD.
(v.1.1): 1/29/04-Made some tweaks.

You can use this FAQ as long as you don't sell it and you give credit to me.
If you're going to use it, please contact me first.  This document Copyright
2002 Julian Blake

-Contact Info
If you have any comments on the FAQ, suggestions on how to make it better, or
something I missed to contribute, please contact me!
AOL IM SN: Airthrow
ICQ UIN: 333591706