Killer Instinct: Season One Character Adjustments - Prima Games

Killer Instinct: Season One Character Adjustments

by Bryan Dawson

Microsoft and Iron Galaxy have announced the current list of changes and additions to the season one roster of Killer Instinct for the Xbox One. The adjustments are not set in stone and could still change between now and the September 23 launch date for the retail version of Killer Instinct, the release of TJ Combo, and the date these changes are scheduled to hit.

We’ll take a more in-depth look at the changes to each character next week after you play each one this weekend at PAX Prime. For the time being, here’s a complete list of adjustments to the gameplay system and characters.


  • Non-combo hits (pokes) and the 1st hit of combos now deal additional damage.
  • Shadow Meter gain rates have decreased 20% overall.
  • Shadow Enders now scale damage based on current Ender Level.
  • Potential (white) damage decays slower than before.
  • New system extension: Air breakers & Air counter breakers
  • The breaker system has been expanded to cover Air to Air and Air to Ground interactions.
  • Additionally, all Counter Breaker attempts now will leave you vulnerable to punishment if you fail no matter what the situation or character.
  • After the 3rd non-chained move, combos that are not part of the Linker/Double ruleset are now breakable via Manual rules. This includes juggled manuals and non-projectile special moves.
  • Combo Breakers no longer cause a Hard Knockdown.
  • Juggled Shadow Enders are now subject to Opener-Ender breaker rules, but can cash out a juggled opponent.
  • Projectiles no longer darken the screen.
  • Removed the ability to Instinct Cancel during an Ender.
  • Removed the ability to perform Ultra Enders from the air.
  • Fixed a bug preventing the 4 frame Manual Breaker window from actually working.  As a result, you now have 4 additional frames to break Manuals.

New Linker Rules: The rules for performing Manuals after Linkers are now consistent across the cast.

  • Doing a Light Linker gives you access to a difficult Light Manual.
  • Doing a Medium Linker gives you access to a difficult Medium Manual or slightly less difficult Light Manual.
  • Doing a Heavy Linker gives you access to a difficult Heavy Manual, less difficult Medium Manual, and even less difficult Light Manual.
  • Exceptions still exist but for the most part you can count on these rules for all characters.


  • Shadow Wind Kick travels 60% as far as before.
  • Heavy Wind Kick does not push back as far and is more negative on block.
  • Can no longer Counter Break from Opener – > Ender situations.

Updated Instinct:

  • Jago no longer heals automatically during instinct.
  • Jago now throws Double Endokukens during instinct.
  • During instinct, all Endokukens (Double, Enders, and Shadow) that hit the opponent heal Jago.
  • Jago maintains his frame advantages during instinct.


  • The final hit of Shadow Leaping Slash now recaptures an airborne opponent into a ground combo.
  • While the forward Dash is the same duration as before, Sabrewulf gets behind his opponent quicker now so that properly timed punish attempts are less likely to come out facing the wrong way.
  • One additional frame has been added after the Super Flash before Shadow Eclipse hits.
  • Backdash distance reduced.
  • Crouching Light Punch pushes the opponent back further.
  • Fixed a bug that let Sabrewulf cancel Crouching Medium Punch into his Heavy Chain during Hitstop, which also prevented Manual Breakers from firing correctly.

Updated Instinct:

  • In addition to its previous properties, while in Instinct Sabre now gains the ability to perform a Feral Cancel (HP+HK) which can cancel any grounded move back to neutral. This has a short cooldown on it but can be performed as much as you want during Instinct.


  • Medium and Light Hail now bounce along the ground instead of breaking when hitting the floor.
  • Shadow Cold Shoulder is slightly less negative on block.
  • Shadow Cold Shoulder will now combo from Ice Lance at maximum distance.
  • Shadow Puddle Punch is no longer throwable until after the first active frame.
  • Startup time on all jumping Kick attacks has increased slightly.
  • Shatter has a few additional frames of recovery.
  • Fixed a bug that let you cancel out of a Shadow Cold Shoulder early.
  • Fixed a bug that let Glacius perform an attack facing the wrong way after going under his opponent with a Cold Shoulder.

New Command Move: Liquidize

  • Press all three kicks (hold). Glacius melts into a puddle.
  • Can move left or right a bit while in liquid state.
  • This is a dodge move.  It is immune to projectiles on the way down, but vulnerable to everything else.


  • Light Sammamish has bit more vertical travel.
  • Skyfall is now considered a special move instead of a command normal.
  • Every character’s reaction to Back Throw is now identical in duration so that Thunder can manual properly.
  • The low crush effect of Ankle Slicer is more reliable now, and it is less negative on block.
  • Medium Sammamish now hits 2 frames earlier, in the same number of frames as Light Sammamish.
  • When performing a manual after back throw, Thunder automatically moves in a bit to ensure that the intended combo works against all characters.
  • Fixed all instances that caused Thunder to miss with Shadow Call of Earth following a Back Throw.
  • Opponents who are locked out can no longer tech out of Thunder’s Back Throw.

New command move: Call of Sky

  • Press all three punch buttons
  • Thunder calls a bolt of lightning from the sky that strikes at his opponent’s current location.
  • This move has very long startup and recovery, but hits quickly.


  • During instinct, using a jump cancel and then canceling into a normal or special during pre-jump frames used to ignore the combo system and skip doubles and linkers in favor of manuals or openers. It now obeys the normal ground combo rules.
  • It is no longer possible to avoid the special landing recovery from Web Cling by throwing a Widow’s Bite.
  • Removed the ability to place a Web Trap from Counter Breaker stance.
  • Web Trap’s hold is slightly shorter.
  • The cross-up hitbox on Jumping Heavy Kick has been reduced slightly.

New target combo:

  • Ground MP->HK or Close MP->HK, chains into launcher.

New Reversal: Shadow Web Cling

  • QCB+2P
  • This is useable only on the ground, but when used, Sadira is invulnerable until she hits the wall.


  • Shadow Ich Ni San now sends out a shockwave of energy columns.  Charge the move up by holding the buttons to fire additional towers of energy that travel further. The final charge level is not unblockable.
  • Danger Zone (Air Throw) causes a recapture when used outside of a combo.
  • Flick Flack’s low crush effect now lasts until the first active frame.
  • Standing Medium Punch and Standing Heavy Punch become active slightly faster and their hitboxes are a bit larger.
  • Shadow Cat (Knee Slide) has a larger hit area and slightly smaller vulnerable area.
  • Crouching Medium Punch animation has changed slightly and now hits low.

New Command Move: Grenade Toss:

  • Back+HP throws the grenade. Hold HP longer to set a longer timer and throw it further.
  • The grenade does not explode on contact with the opponent, and is governed only by its timer.
  • Colliding with an opponent’s projectile will detonate it immediately.


Color and skull logic: Spinal’s attacks have been color-coded to more clearly show what does what: Green attacks give you skulls, Blue attacks curse the opponent’s Shadow Meter, and Yellow attacks curse the opponent’s Instinct Meter.

  • Any time Spinal hits with a ghostly attack (green) he gains one skull.
  • Searing Skull (with skull stock) projectiles are now colored Blue.
  • Shadow Searing Skull’s projectile is now colored Yellow.

All of spinal’s green attacks now reward one skull. That includes:
Hitting with Crouching HP

  • Hitting with any Spectral Manual
  • Searing Skull (no skull stock)
  • Spinal’s throw

Other changes:

  • Crouching Medium Kick no longer sweeps and is now cancelable.
  • Shadow Bone Shaker is now projectile immune.
  • Throw Range increased slightly.
  • Shadow Searing Skull applies its curse on the 1st hit instead of the 5th.
  • Divekick causes a Ground Bounce when hitting an airborne opponent.

New skull use option:

  • Spinal can now cancel all normal attacks (except c.HP and c.HK) into his run at the cost of 1 Skull.


Fulgore’s meter mechanics have been completely reworked to reward aggressive play with faster meter gain. As a result, he can no longer manually charge his meter and the charge command has been removed.

New reactor system: Fulgore now gains reactor pips at a pace based on how fast his reactor spinner is turning.

  • The reactor always spins, so Fulgore is always gaining pips at a minimum rate at least.
  • A new energy bar has been added above the pip display to show you exactly when your next pip will appear based on the current spin rate.
  • Any of Fulgore’s physical attacks that make contact (hit or blocked) increase spin speed.
  • Auto Triples give a huge spin speed bonus.
  • Using energy systems (Energy Bolt, Plasmaport, or Eye Beam) reduces spin speed.
  • Getting knocked down reduces spin speed.
  • If Fulgore does nothing, spin speed will decay over time, eventually returning to its minimum speed.
  • Activating Instinct Mode makes the reactor spin at maximum speed for the duration regardless of what Fulgore does or doesn’t do, or what happens to him.
  • Fulgore gains the walk forward speed buff after green pips are full, the walk back buff after yellow pips are full, and his dash buff at full pips.

Energy Bolt has been reworked: Light, Medium, and Heavy inputs now all fire a single projectile, speed determined by the button used.

  • Tapping LP, MP, or HP while firing will spend 1 pip to fire an additional projectile at that button’s speed.
  • This can be done twice for a total of three projectiles traveling at various speeds on the screen.
  • You can still spend an additional pip during any of these to cancel into another special move.

Other changes:

  • Devastation (hype) Beam does considerably less damage, but is now available outside of Instinct Mode when Fulgore has full pips.
  • Plasmaport motion has been moved to QCB+K.
  • Auto Triples are now performed by pressing the button again instead of holding it down.
  • Medium Cyber Uppercut now hits twice, and Heavy hits three times.
  • All versions of Cyber Uppercut can be Shadow Cancelled into Air Shadow Eye Beam.
  • Air Shadow Eye Beam no longer hits low and damage has been reduced, but the hitboxes are taller and it now juggles.
  • Axis Smash (F+HP) is slightly less positive on hit and block.

You may also like