Killer Instinct Frame Data
All numbers in this spreadsheet have been hand-checked as accurate as of the most recent patch, Patch 3.9.13 (August 16, 2018), using frame-stepping tools.
This is not a simple copy/paste of the in-game frame data numbers, and we list many details about each move that the in-game data does not discuss.
This project is a collaboration between Ziarist (@ziarist), Atsu (@Astumachi), and Infil (@Infilament).
Special thanks to DE Climax (@turntechCatfish), Ovis (@Ovis_Cantus) and Ninjafrombox for extra assistance.
These numbers are referenced on the Complete Killer Instinct Guide by Infil:
Frame data is a way to measure timing information about each move in a fighting game.
If you are unfamiliar with frame data, there are many excellent tools on the internet that explain the inner workings. Here are some videos to get you started:
Killer Instinct runs at 60 frames per second, so a "frame" is the lowest possible "unit" of time we can talk about. It represents 1/60th of a second.
About This Document and Reference Sheet
Each character's frame data is listed on a separate tab. Browse between these tabs to look at the character of your choice.
This Reference Sheet gives a brief description of the meaning of each category, and how you can interpret the data. Keep reading to learn more.
Scroll to the bottom of the Reference Sheet to see explanations for some of the common notes we use to describe special properties of certain moves.
Startup (aka, the Beginning of a move)
This is the amount of time that must pass before the move is capable of hitting the opponent. A lower number means the move hits faster.
This guide uses "SF notation", which means a move listed as 5 frames of startup will hit the opponent on the 5th frame (that is to say, we include the first active frame in the startup value).
Note that the in-game frame data for KI lists start-up *not* counting the first active frame, so their startup numbers will always be 1 lower.
We prefer the SF notation for several reasons, including making math and comparison between moves easier.
Shadow moves are listed as x+y, where x is the startup before the screen freeze, and y is the startup after the screen freeze. For instance, a 3+5 shadow move will hit on the 8th frame after activation.
In KI, the fastest normal attack is 5 frames of startup, and every character has at least one 5f normal. There are a few special moves that start up faster than 5 frames but they are relatively rare, and mostly invincible uppercut attacks.
The fastest special move is General Raam's shadow Dominance, a grab which starts up in 1+0 (ie, 1 total) frame.
Active (aka, the Middle of a move)
This is the amount of time that a move is capable of hitting the opponent after its startup has completed. These numbers are generally short, which means a move only has a brief period where it can actually connect.
In the vast majority of situations, a move usually makes contact with your opponent on the first active frame. However, in special situations (such as when your opponent rises from a knockdown), your first active frame
might miss and a later active frame makes the first contact. This is called a meaty attack and will usually generate extra hit or block advantage (see below).
A few select moves are listed as "No Attack Hitbox During Active" (for example, Spinal's Skeleport); this means that the move is not capable of hitting the opponent during the Active window, but instead is accomplishing
some other purpose, like teleporting or jumping. We find representing the moves in this way helps players more easily identify the start, middle, and end of teleport-style moves.
Recovery (aka, the End of a move)
After your move starts up and completes its active frames, your character undergoes a period of time where you cannot take any actions, including blocking. These are your recovery frames.
In some cases, this recovery period can be skipped; for example, most normal attacks in KI can be "special canceled", which will avoid the recovery and immediately transition into another move.
But if the move whiffs, and in most other cases, you will be forced to go through this recovery period before you can attack or defend again.
Total Duration
If you want to figure out how long a move takes in total, from the time you press the button until you gain control of your character again, simply apply this easy formula:
Total Duration = Startup + Active + Recovery - 1
This formula applies for all moves that have a number listed in the Active column (remember, the Startup section describes us counting the first Active frame twice, so we have to subtract 1).
If the move has "--" listed for the Active window, then use the same formula but do not subtract 1, since there is no first Active frame to count twice.
For moves that do not hit opponents and can't easily be separated into a start, middle and end (for example, a forward dash), these are listed as only having startup frames.
In these cases, this number represents the total duration of the move.
On Hit
If a move hits your opponent, this number measures who gets to act first, and by how much. A positive number means the attacker will recover before the person who was hit. A negative number means the defender recovers first.
Moves are generally "plus on hit", meaning the attacker gets to act first.
Note that this requires the move to complete all of its recovery frames. If you choose to "cancel" a move into another move, then look at the data for the move you canceled into instead.
On hit values always assume (where possible) that the move hits on the first active frame. If you manage to hit on a later active frame (a "meaty" attack), this number can be higher.
On Block
If a move is blocked by your opponent, this number measures who gets to act first, and by how much. A positive number means the attacker will recover before the person who blocked. A negative number means the defender recovers first.
If a move is negative by a large enough amount (generally -5 is the "magic number" for KI), that means the defender gets to punish the opponent by pressing a button with fast enough startup.
The attacking player will not have recovered yet and will be unable to block, guaranteeing a hit.
For example, if a move is -8 on block, that means any move with 8 frames of startup or faster will be guaranteed to hit (assuming the move is in range of the opponent).
The "on block" number, coupled with the "startup" number, are usually the two most important frame data numbers to watch for.
They give you more information on what moves can be used to counter attack your opponent when you block their offense.
Note that this requires the move to complete all of its recovery frames. If a move is cancelable, then look at the next move's "on block" number instead.
On Hit/On Block (at best)
For air normals, your frame advantage will be different depending on how high you hit the opposing character. The hit and block stun will be the same, but you will take longer to land if you attack higher up, which takes some frames off your advantage.
The frame advantage for air normals is reported assuming you hit them the frame right before you land, which will generate the most hit or block advantage possible, though this is usually not what happens in real matches.
You can estimate the frame data for jumpins that hit around the character's head (a more common scenario) by subtracting around 7 or 8 from these numbers.
On Hit {Manuals}
Killer Instinct's special moves have an odd quirk; you are able to cancel the last few frames of recovery into a normal attack (on hit only).
For example, Jago's heavy Wind Kick is +2 on hit, but it is possible for him to link up to a 7f normal. This means, for the last 5 frames of Wind Kick's recovery, Jago can begin attacking with a normal.
However, it is not possible for him to link his 3f Tiger Fury, because the buffer does not apply to special moves.
Why does this quirk exist? Presumably, it is so that players can perform manuals with slow normals but not slow special moves, which could let you avoid the combo system by looping special moves of indistinguishable strength.
Whenever you see a number in curly braces next to an On Hit number, this is the highest strength normal attack that can be comboed as a manual after this opener hits.
If the number in braces is the same as the On Hit number, that means there's no extra cancel window for this move, so wait until the recovery fully completes to attempt your manual.
If we list this property as {--}, that means no manuals are possible because you do not have enough advantage.
If there are no curly braces at all, that means the special move juggles or causes a knockdown, so this property does not apply.
The value is move specific, so check each move to see which manuals are possible after the opener version of each special and shadow move.
Cancel Window
How far into the attack animation can the move be cancelled into another move
All attacks can be instinct cancelled unless stated otherwise, enders can't be
The listed cancel windows are "true" cancel windows for the purpose of kara cancelling (see below)
The attack has to hit first or the projectile needs to come out before the cancel can occur, however, if a projectile is blocked while you are doing a normal, you can cancel the normal early into another special if the projectile hits within the cancel window. This is known as a kara cancel.
Note on advancing specials (ie wind kick, blade dash etc): most of these specials have a special "landing" animation which is how they are always a set advantage/disadvantage regardless of how far you are when you use them. The cancel window listed is for after you "land", so the earliest possible cancel will be point blank (first and only active frame)
Universal Jump Rules
Every character's jump except Aganos (noted on his page) has 5 frames of startup (sometimes called "pre-jump"). These frames are throw invincible. If you get hit during these 5 frames, you will stay on the ground.
On the 6th frame, you will be in the air. Note that, for ease of use purposes, the first Active frame of the jump does not count in startup.
This makes the total duration for jumps simply Startup + Active + Recovery. This is the only exception to this rule for a move that has a number in the Active column.
Every jump has 4 frames of landing recovery. If you did not attack in the air, these recovery frames can be canceled into any action except dashing, as long as you input the action during those landing frames.
This means canceling into another jump or blocking (simply holding the appropriate direction) is easy, but canceling into a normal or special move requires some precision.
If you did attack with a normal in the air, then you must wait the 4 frames before being able to take any action, no matter what. Some jumping special moves leave you with longer than 4 frames of recovery -- see the specific frame data for these moves.
Airborne Normal and Special Moves
The recovery for normal and special moves done in the air indicate how much landing recovery you will go through.
There are some tricky air moves in this game, so we've done our best to outline any bizarre behavior in the Special Properties column.
Many moves in this game have invincibility of some kind, often just for some part of the move's duration.
For each invincibility, we list the frames (measured from the 1st startup frame) where each invincibility applies.
Invincible: the character has no hittable hurtbox of any kind. Essentially, a combination of all possible invincibilities listed below.
If the attack is not active, it is impossible to hit the character. If the attack *is* active, it may trade with attacks of the same priority (shadow > special move > H normal > M normal > L normal).
Upper Body Invincible: the character's "upper body" hurtbox is removed, so they will likely dodge attacks that hit high on the body.
Lower Body Invincible: the character's "lower body" hurtbox is removed, so they will likely dodge attacks that hit low on the body.
Strike Invincible: the character can not be hit by physical attacks, but can still be hit by projectiles or throws.
Projectile Invincible: the character can not be hit by any move marked as Projectile or Acts As Projectile during this time.
Throw Invincible: the character can not be hit by throws during this time.
Knockdown Rules
Killer Instinct has two types of knockdowns: Hard and Soft Knockdown.
For Hard Knockdowns, the opponent is forced to get off the ground at a specific time.
For Soft Knockdowns, the opponent can tap any button (or hold up on the joystick) when their back touches the ground to instantly rise. This is called "quick rising".