Killer Instinct: Jago Breakdown - Prima Games

Killer Instinct: Jago Breakdown

by Bryan Dawson

For people interested in the new Killer Instinct, who have played it at E3, Evolution, San Diego Comic-Con or Super Arcade, there’s one important thing to note. This game is still in development and will only get better as we move closer to launch. With that said, the developers have made it clear that Jago was the first character to be “completed” and is the most balanced character as of the last playable build. Jago is also the character that will be available to anyone who downloads the free demo of the game.

This breakdown covers what we know about Jago after our time playing the game at E3 and Evolution. We’ll probably have another update after we play again at PAX Prime, but it’s unlikely we’ll see many changes from Jago. If you’re going to PAX Prime, take note of the quick breakdown below to get the most out of your play time. For a complete list of Jago’s moves, check out our pre-Evo mini-guide. You’ll find general system mechanics, along with a bit of what Jago was capable of in the E3 build.

General System Mechanics

There’s a reason why Jago is the character included in the free demo of Killer Instinct. He is the Ryu of the game, a character who doesn’t specialize in any one thing, but is a good balance of every character archetype. He has an Endokuken projectile to zone with, the ability to go through projectiles with his Shadow Wind Kick, a good anti-air attack with his Tiger Fury uppercut and enough solid normals and command normals to initiate his offense with relative safety.

While there’s been discussion as to what classifies as a Manual, Jago has the ability to link his attacks in a unique way. He can chain from Heavy attacks to Medium attacks to Lights attacks in place of an Auto-Double, which has been referred to as his “Around the World.” This can be looped until your KV meter is full, and start or end at any point. For example, you can use an Opener, then use a MP to start the Around the World, followed by a HK, then a LP and loop it again. The timing is far stricter than an Auto-Double, so it may take some time to get it down, but Jago’s Around the World is much harder to break compared to a traditional Auto-Double.

He also has the ability to cross-up with his jump-in attacks (something Sabrewulf cannot do), and he can cancel his throw into a Shadow attack, but what really sets him apart from the other two characters we’ve played is his Instinct mode. While Sabrewulf gets a damage buff and Glacius gets armor, Jago regains roughly 25 percent of his health, and gains additional frame advantage on all of his attacks, on hit and block (+4 frame advantage added to every attack). This essentially allows him to lock an opponent down with a near infinite block string while his Instinct mode is active.

You can still use a well-timed Shadow Counter to prevent this, or simply stay away from Jago while his Instinct mode is active. However, if he closes in on you, he will not only keep you locked down, but he’ll have a full Shadow meter by the time his Instinct mode runs out (you gain a ton of Shadow meter when an opponent blocks your attacks). The Instinct meter builds when you take hits or land a Combo Breaker, which means you should have access to it at the end of your first health bar, and probably again just before you fall into the Ultra Combo danger zone (below 15 percent in your second health bar).

A lot of new players make the mistake of forgetting to use Jago’s Instinct. If you keep a close eye on your Instinct meter and use it twice in a match, that’s roughly 50 percent health that you regained. It could easily be the difference between life and death. Keep in mind you can also use the Instinct Cancel as a Focus Attack Dash Cancel (think Street Fighter IV) to make his Shadow Tiger Fury much safer if the opponent blocks. Just Instinct Cancel before Jago’s feet are off the ground to avoid a big punish.

Double Roundhouse – F+HK

The Double Roundhouse can be canceled into the Laser Blade to create a potential four-hit block string that gives Jago a ton of meter. If your health bar is low, you can use this four-hit block string in conjunction with an Instinct Cancel, then continue with another block string to not only keep the opponent pinned down, but also regain lost health in the process. Pay close attention to your opponent’s Shadow meter because the Double Roundhouse is susceptible to a Shadow Counter.

Neck Cutter – B+HP

The second of Jago’s command normals is an overhead attack that will hit crouching opponents. It’s fast enough to catch novice and average players off guard, but skilled players should be able to block it on reaction. Still, at an event like PAX Prime, you won’t see many people blocking this overhead. It works especially well after a jump-in attack is blocked, or after ending a combo with Jago’s HK Wind Kick wall bounce Ender (in the corner). In this situation, many opponents like to crouch in anticipation of a crouching MK or some other low attack. An overhead may catch them off guard, which can then be followed by an Opener to start a combo.

Wind Kick – QCB+K

Jago’s Wind Kick is a powerful tool. It’s invincible to low attacks, so if you anticipate an opponent is about to use a low attack, toss out a Wind Kick to punish them for it. In addition, the LK Wind Kick is safe if the opponent blocks. It doesn’t have the range of the MK or HK Wind Kick, but if you’re close to an opponent, use crouching MK, then cancel into the LK Wind Kick for good pressure.

The Shadow Wind Kick gives Jago frame advantage when blocked, and can punish projectile attacks from full screen if you’re fast enough. It goes through projectiles and can even be used to bait an opponent into trying to evade Jago’s own Endokuken. Many characters have a way around projectile attacks, but if you follow a LP Endokuken with a Shadow Wind Kick, it will beat almost anything an opponent uses to evade the projectile attack. You can use any other version of the Wind Kick, but the Shadow Wind Kick has the most priority from our experimentation.

Laser Blade – QCB+P

The Laser Blade has a variety of uses. It can be used as a mix-up tool or to keep block strings going. The LP Laser Blade is a single hit, while the HP version is two hits and leaves Jago at +2 frame advantage if it’s blocked. However, if your opponent has meter, it’s not difficult to use a Shadow Counter between the two hits of the HP Laser Blade. This is where the mix-up comes into play. If the opponent tries to use a Shadow Counter and you used the LP version, you can punish their counter attempt. If they assume you’re using the LP version and do not attempt a Shadow Counter, the HP variant gives you frame advantage so you can continue your offense.

Note: In a Jago mirror match, the Laser Blade has an additional purpose. It beats the Wind Kick clean. If you see the opposing Jago player go for a Wind Kick, counter with a Laser Blade.

Endokuken – QCF+P

As far as projectiles go, Jago’s Endokuken is fairly straightforward. The LP version is the slowest, with the HP version traveling the fastest. It flies across the screen a little higher than your typical projectile attack, which makes it a bit more difficult to jump over. While most characters have a way around projectiles that doesn’t involve jumping, if you follow with a Wind Kick (preferably a Shadow Wind Kick), it will likely stuff anything they try. Of note, if an opponent blocks two Endokukens, Jago will have one stock of Shadow meter.

Tiger Fury – DP+P

The Tiger Fury is Jago’s version of a Dragon Punch (Shoryuken). It works well as an anti-air if an opponent jumps toward you. Just like in Street Fighter, you can bait an opponent into jumping over an Endokuken, then knock them out of the air with a Tiger Fury. When the HP Tiger Fury is used as an Ender, it’s the maximum damage Jago can get from a traditional Ender. From our brief testing, it also seems as though the Tiger Fury has a few frames of invincibility at the beginning of the animation. If this is the case, it means that you can use it in a similar fashion to a wake-up Shoryuken in Street Fighter. If an opponent is hovering over you after a knock down, ready to attack as soon as you get up, use a Tiger Fury to get them off you. Be careful not to get baited into a Tiger Fury, only to be punished when the opponent evades.

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