Fighting Tips for KI

Killer Instinct

Basic Moves

Killer Instinct

Each fighter in the Killer Instinct tournament has basic moves that are similar. In the human characters, these are usually punches or kicks of various degrees of ferocity. The non-human characters use other means of attacking. Each attack has three levels of intensity; quick, medium and fierce.

Quick Punch / Kick / Bite / Sword

No matter what method of attack is used, a Quick attack is just that; it's fast but doesn't do a lot of damage. However, it can be difficult to get an attack in on opponent who is unleashing a flurry of quick punches.

Medium Punch / Kick / Bite / Sword

A Medium attack is somewhere in between a Quick and Fierce attack in terms of speed and damage caused. It is possible to perform Medium attacks quite rapidly, but this requires some timing.

Fierce Punch / Kick / Bite / Sword

Fierce attacks are devastating, but are somewhat slow. It's possible to counter-attack after a Fierce attack if you time it correctly.


Denying your opponent a clear strike is the best way to avoid damage (duh!) in any fighting game. In Killer Instinct, blocking skills are especially essential. To block a move, hold the Control Pad cross away from the attacking character. If correctly blocked, any normal move (Quick, Medium or Fierce) will not do any damage. To block correctly, you must master blocking high and low.

Blocking High

If you just stand there and block, that will be good enough to block an attacker who is just standing there, or even one who is jumping in on you. However, if your enemy tries to get sneaky, and attacks low, blocking high will not be enough.

Blocking Low

Press Down and away from the attacker on the Control Pad and you will block low. Blocking low is necessary to block low attacks, such as sweeps. Sometimes you can also block standing attacks while ducking, but don't count on it. The only problem with blocking low is it leaves you open to a top attack.

Top Attack

If you opponent is blocking low, you can top attack over the top of their defense. To do this, press away from your opponent on the Control Pad cross and press Fierce Punch.


Some characters can perform an uppercut by pressing Down on the Control Pad and Fierce Punch. This is especially useful when an attacker jumps at you. Several characters do not have uppercuts, but they have special move counter-attacks against jumping attackers.


Press Down and Fierce Kick next to a standig opponent to execute a sweep attack. If you hit, it will knock your foe down. Not every character has a sweep move.


Press down on the Control Pad and your character will duck. From this position, he or she can attack low. Some characters, like Sabrewulf, can actually avoid some attacks this way.

Special Moves

Each character also has a fine selection of special moves to use in combat. Each character's special moves are different, and usually require the use of buttons in combination with the Control Pad cross.

Elementary Combo Theory

Killer Instinct

So you mastered the basics of pounding each other. Now it's time to learn a combo or two. Combos are basically a combination of buttons that produces multiple hits. Now, these hits aren't really free, as you must connect with the first one in order to activate the combo. However, a successful combo can give you many extra hits for the low price of just a few button presses. It's possible to get a 30 hit combo for a mere 6 button presses! But that will come later. First, you must learn the law of Jump-In Auto-Doubles.

Jump-In Auto-Doubles

In order to perform a Jump-In Auto-Double, you must first jump-in and attack your opponent, successfully hitting them. Once you have scored the first hit, if you press the proper button next, you will not only get your first hit, but you will also get two or three bonus hits. The whole sequence will register as a Triple Combo or Super Combo. The trick is to know what pair of buttons will produce the Auto-Double.
Here is that list:

Quick Punk and Quick Kick ( QP <-> QK )
Medium Punch and Fierce Kick ( MP <-> FK )
Medium Kick and Fierce Punch ( MK <-> FP )

You can tell from this list that if you jump-in and hit, for example with a Fierce Kick, pressing Medium Punch immediately after the first hit should trigger at least a Triple Combo. You could do that in reverse order as well, but note that not every Auto-Double combination will work with every character.


The jump-in attack is what is know as an "Opener" move. This means that if this initial attack is succesful, your opponent is briefly open to whatever combo series you want to punish him or her with. Each character also has several special moves that function as openers. If you hit with an Opener move, there is at least one button (sometimes more) that you can press to get an Auto-Double.

Top Attack Auto-Double

Top Attacks are also Openers.


So what do you do once you have mastered Triple and Super Combos? You extend your combo tally using moves known as Linkers. After you have succesfully hit your opponent with an Auto-Double, you can continue to combo them by following the last hit of the Auto-Double with a Linker move and another Auto-Double button.

End Specials

The best way to finish a combo is an end special, which can be added after any Auto-Double or Linker. End Special are listed in each character's profile. An example of a complete combo sequence would be:

Jump-In hit
Auto-Double button
Auto-Double button
End Special.

Intermediate Combo Theory

Killer Instinct

There's nothing that can make you feel quite as helpless as a multi-hit combo. So what can you do about
it besides put the Control Pad down and grab some soda and chips? You can bust out a Combo Breaker, that's what!

Each fighter has a special move that will function as a Combo Breaker. A Combo Breaker can potentially
interrupt any part of a combo - Auto-Double, Linker, and End Special (but not the final hits of an Ultra Combo).
The key is to use the proper Combo Breaker to break the move. This takes practice and a keen eye, plus vast
knowledge of every character's Openers, Linkers and Auto-Doubles.

Combo Breakers can be summed up as follows:

Quick breaks Medium.
Medium breaks Fierce.
Fierce breaks Quick.

The best way to envision Combo Breakers is like the game "Scissors, Paper, Rock" The correct combo
breaker will beat your opponent's attack. To break an opener sequence or an end finisher, you must
perform the combo breaker using the button that breaks the button your opponent is using. So if he
hits you with a Fierce opener, you can break with your Quick combo breaker.

Since you can break a Linker with any of the buttons (Quick, Medium or Fierce), it's risky to do
long combos. However, you still have to learn the timing to do the combo breaker and that only
comes with practice.

Breaking a combo does several things. First of all, its gets you out of the humillating sequence
of hits and damage, and it throws your opponent for a loop! Second of all, all characters have
some moves that are enhanced after they have broken a combo. We have left these advanced post-breaker
moves for you to discover on your own.

Advanced Combo Theory

Killer Instinct

So you've mastered all the basic combos; jump-ins, openers, linkers and end finishers. Well that's far from all you'll find in Killer Instinct! Below you'll find some of the more advanced tricks, but we're going to leave it to you to find some of the really special moves (like Air-Doubles, Shadow Moves and Post Breakers Specials). Keep building upon your knowledge of Auto-Doubles and you'll be surprised how many new moves you can discover.

Danger Moves

When you have your opponent on the ropes and basically defeated, you can perform a Danger Move on him or her. You will only have a few seconds to perform the move. Some of the Danger Moves require special timing, or that you stand a certain distance from your victim.

Ultra Combos

If you opponent is almost defeated (his second life bar is almost gone and the bit that remains is flashing), you can perform an Ultra Combo. Basically, Ultra Combos are like special End Finishers that work when your opponent is almost defeated. Go into a combo sequence, and if you hit, finish it with the Ultra Combo move noted for the character you are using. If you do it correctly, you should get a double digit Ultra Combo, usually in excess of 20 hits. There is no way to combo break an Ultra Combo, but if you're getting hit by one, you were almost defeated anyway.