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Kung Lao Guide
Rank: 3

Kung Lao (updated 2/5/11) Bolded new text

Kung Lao is ranked #3 of 23 in UMK3. A top tier character to say the least with incredible maneuverability and high damage juggles, with infinite possibilities. On the defensive, you have to force people to make mistakes, like leaving the ground. This sets up spin opportunities and then leads into juggle infs and re-spins. Watch for certain characters who can out-prioritize the spin, like Kano. His jump kick will often times beat out the Spin's collision box range. Your best bet is to keep moving, using low to ground dive kicks and staying away from the teleport unless you are guaranteed they will not be able to counter you, and so you can connect a JK to powerful 7 hit autocombo afterward. Early jump punches canceled to Dive Kicks are also useful.

Basic moves:

His HP can be used as anti air to set up the damage protection-free version of his infinite, but you have to commit to that HP connecting, and it's not so easy since it doesn't hit quite high enough for most characters. His LPs are good for run jabbing but as to what you can do when they release block is limited to his 3 hit kick combo. His standing HK and RH are excellent anti air, his standing LK has somewhat less range than others. His sweep has slightly longer range than some and his ducking LK is quick and pointy, very good for escaping run jabs. His uppercut has a very weird collision area. It will miss often times, especially against the teleport uppercut, so rather try to go for single aaLP, JK, whiff dive kick to infinite if possible. It also sometimes miss at extremely close side to side range, for instance when a Robot Ninja or Sindel lands right next to you, and is bad for direct overhead cross-up snuffing but will connect just as they pass behind you. In situations where you see an uppercut available, it might be better to opt for his spin.

The Spin is his most valuable move. It sets up all his options. From a spin, it is time to deliver whatever variation of infinite combo you wish. There is no limit to the amount of spins you can do in a combo, which is very broken and dangerous, however, you must place one hit between each spin usage to allow for another. The Spin can be used in some cases almost like a Dragon Punch, but it's collision box, even though improved since MK3, still has some awkwardness to it, so try and figure out the best way to time a counter spin. Oftentimes it is a good idea to allow them to pass over you, and do the spin in reverse. Utilize the spin in corner juggles. You can link the spin to the end of his 7 hit autocombo in the corner on the Robot Ninjas Sheeva, Nightwolf and Kung Lao himself, and if you catch someone just off the ground in the corner with an autocombo so that the entire combo juggles them, it is quite easy to then link a spin on just about anyone with the extra falling height. Utilize the Spin to get your opponent out of the corner in juggle combos if you don't wish to be repetitive or "lazy" with your now already broken infinite combos. What you must do is allow Kung Lao to pass the other character's axis in the corner after whiffing a dive kick, so that when the spin connects, it sends them out of the corner. You might also want to try performing the F-D-F motion backwards while still in the air, and hitting the F+Run the instant you hit the ground. You can also allow your opponent to fall a bit and be sure that they are to your side, and as quickly as possible perform the Spin normally. Try to stay away from using the Spin too much. It is possible to bait people with it from cross screen by just doing the Spin action without tapping at all, you will recover quickly, but if you tap Run during the spin at all, you will be held in spin animation longer. If you are near the corner, you can attempt to lock a person in with no where to go, pending teleports, etc, where you are so close to them the spin doesn't hit, but if they move, they are toast. The only way to avoid this scenario if you are the one in trouble is to essentially "parry" the spin by hitting forward+block exactly right, or throwing a jab and kara canceling it instantly. This increases the width of your collision box temporarily but uses the instant block mechanic jabs have essentially creating MKs version of push blocking, or advance guard. You also might want to try using the Spin to escape corner run jab pressure, but this is fairly risky, with a potentially high reward.

The Dive Kick is another very important move, and what's more important is learning how to miss it well than even hitting it. It is a great transport move and if you do them low to the ground it confuses your opponent and it's very hard to hit him and intentionally get in the way of to block it. "Whiffing" the Dive Kick is essential to performing Kung Lao's cross screen infinite variants. It is a good idea to do the Dive Kick instinctively after connecting jump kicks, or using it to avoid an incoming counter jump kick. There is no limit to how many Dive Kicks you can do in a combo, but remember you don't want to be connecting them. Use it sparingly against opponents for damage, as it puts him in punishment mode when blocked. Try to do the Dive Kick and land next the opponent or behind them, and go for the 3 hit kick combo if they are ducking.

The Hat Throw is a slow projectile that has an arch to it, so it cannot be easily ducked or swept under. Kung Lao, Sindel and Sonya can easily ducking LK under it from a variety of distances. Sindel and Kung himself can duck it from a very large half screen window considering the move is generally not designed to be duckable. You can use it to add variety to corner combos, but it doesn't really have much other use, you might be able to stick it in with run jabs every now and then but this sets up nothing and runs the risk of being blocked and countered.

The Teleport is a questionable move. Some people know how to use it, some will never know. The best way to use it is on a baited projectile, and countering into the jump kick to 7 hit combo. If you ever do a teleport while your opponent is neutral, you asking to get countered. Spamming on the attack as he's coming up will sometimes help against people, but it is inadvisable because you will most likely not land the 7 hit combo. You can use the teleport in the corner to make his juggle infinites look more elaborate. It possible to teleport out of the way of sluggish run jabbers, but it is all in all just better to use ducking LKs. You can also use it to get out of blocked combos that have some recovery between hits, vs Kabal's air fireball strategy to connect a start right before he hits the ground, and also after something like a blocked Leg Grab from Sonya, to enhance damage.

Basic combos juggles:

1. aa Spin, R, aa(HP,HP) hat throw, 4 hits 25%
2. aaHP, JK, dive kick 3 hits 31%

Advanced Juggles:

1. spin, R, aaHP,HP, JK or JP, whiff dive kick, aaHP, repeat across screen
2. (In corner or from previous combo) spin, JK, spin (inf, and there are tons of moves you can throw in for variety, Kung Lao can spin off just about all his normals and the hat throw)
3. aaHP,(HP- may be necessary) JK, whiff dive kick (repeat until corner or dead)
4. 7 hit autocombo, juggle spin, straight up jump kick, whiff dive kick, spin out of corner, into cross screen infinite variation.

Sheeva, Shang Tsung, and the Female Ninjas all are slightly harder to juggle infinite than others, you must be more selective about how you hit them, specifically doing a certain routine against them, whereas against other characters you have a lot of freedom to change things up.
Kung Lao Simple Spin Corner Infinite
Kung Lao 100% Counter
 
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