Mai Shiranui is a character from the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters series produced by SNK Playmore. Regarded as the SNK counterpart to Capcom's Chun-Li, Mai is one of the company's most recognisable properties, in no small part due to her undeniable reputation as one of the fighting genre's (and gaming-in-general's) top "sex symbols".
Typically, Mai is used to pilot aggressive or Hybrid deckbuilds based around Evil and/or Life, using the enhances available to her various character cards and resources to push through attacks so with speed values so high they are unable to be blocked.
Mai's first round of card support introduced several boosts to the Life resource, and included the following:
- Ninja Arts, an action
- Deadly Ninja Bees, an attack
- Dragon Flame Romp, an attack
- Folding Fan Fandango, an attack
- Nocturnal Plover, an attack
- Super Deadly Ninja Bees, an attack
- Shiranui Ninja Arts, a foundation
- The Enchanting Ninja Maiden, a foundation
The most notable cards from this set include Deadly Ninja Bees and Super Deadly Ninja Bees, powerful Multiple attacks that work with *Mai* to be pushed to very high speed, and Shiranui Ninja Arts, a foundation that forces opponents to block with cards sharing resources with the attack in question.
Common Deck TypesEdit
The deck-exclusive *Mai*, also commonly referred to as "Starter Mai", is designed to be a "rushing" character, increasing an attack's speed by 1 for each resource that it shares with her. She possesses a handsize of 6, and 25 vitality, as well as the resources of Air, Evil and Life. Both Deadly and Super Deadly Ninja Bees share two resources with this character, providing them both with free +2 speed bonuses.
The most common way to build and play Starter Mai is to build from Life, utilising cards such as Idyllic Kamui Kotan, Deceptive Look and the new Unrequited Love, to increase the speed and damage of her attacks to fearsome levels in a short period of time.
Starter Mai also has the ability to discard momentum in order to pass checks that are unsuccessful, useful for attempting to launch consecutive high difficulty attacks such as Super Deadly Ninja Bees. In addition to the use of cards such as Shinobi Tradition and Float Like A Butterfly, Mai can play her game in a similar manner to UR **Yun-Seong**.
Because of this added ease of passing control checks, she is also capable of being built in a similar manner to Yun-Seong from Air, generating large amounts of momentum to be used with cards such as Super Deadly Ninja Bees, Special Forces Training and Criminal Uppercut.
Promo Mai possesses a handsize of 7, 22 vitality, and the resources of Evil, Fire and Life. A world away from the original starter version, the second incarnation of Mai is intended to be a double-edged sword, giving all attacks from all players the free enhance ability of Stun:2. Additionally, she gives all control checks of all players +1 for each character card in her staging area, not including the starting character. As such, some players consider it highly unwise to overlay characters when playing with Promo Mai.
She has great potential for board control, and with the release of cards such as Brethren of the Coast, can also help prevent the opponent from using their free Stun abilities too much on their turn. Using the Stun enhance on low-DF attacks like Kunai allow Mai to gain a quick upper hand against blocking attempts. Stunning with Reversal attacks, especially those with Multiple, help commit the opponent out on their turn, leaving Mai to run rampant with attacks that are harder to block than usual.
Rare MaiEditIn the second SNK expansion, Fortune and Glory, Mai was revisited by Sabertooth, and alongside Ukyo Tachibana, received a new rare character version, the three-dot ***Mai***. In much the same vein as her promo character, Rare Mai's primary ability revolves around the application of keyword abilities for both opponents, in this case, a free Breaker:1 to all non-Breaker cards played as blocks.
Rare Mai has a handsize of 7, 21 vitality and the resources of Evil, Life and Order. Sharing both Evil and Life with her previous incarnations, Mai again has access to elite resources, and cards that supplement her ability to increase an opponent's overall difficulty of playing cards.
Her second ability is a free enhance that gives her attack +X speed, where X is equal to the last block modifier in the opponent's card pool. This does not necessarily mean that the opponent need to have attempted to block an attack, the speed bonus can be taken from responses printed on action cards or even an opponent's reversal attack, so it is equally effective on either player's turn.
Mai recieved another 9-card support set in Fortune and Glory, including the following cards:
- ***Mai***, a character
- Shiranui Flames, an action
- Combat Fan, an asset
- Blossom Storm, an attack
- Phoenix Dance, an attack
- Rising Dragon Flamefest, an attack
- Japan's Best, a foundation
- Unrequited Love, a foundation
- Won't Settle For Second Best, a foundation
As Fortune and Glory has only recently become tournament legal, it remains to be seen just how Rare Mai will be judged by the overall UFS community, and what kinds of deck builds she is suited to.
Demo MaiEditA 7-dot version of Mai was released with the new set of demonstration decks at GenCon 2007. Alongside Cammy, Tira, and Felicia, all four characters in these decks each have a handsize of 6 and 25 vitality, and Mai is confirmed to have the resources of Evil, Fire and Life. This version of Mai is NOT tournament legal. However, a promo version of this Mai was recently released and IS tournament legal.
Playing Against MaiEdit
Defense against an opponent playing Mai depends on a number of variables that need to be taken into consideration:
- The version of Mai being used
- The primary (and sometimes secondary) resource of the opponent's deck
- The gameplan of your deck, and the build of the opponent's deck.
However, against each version of Mai, there are several common techs against their abilities.
Against Starter Mai:
- Absurd Strength can help to prevent Mai from generating any momentum, as well as provide a hefty damage pump to your attacks.
- Yoga Mastery or Pieces of Eight will provide you with defense against an Air or Life-based Mai deck, as her damage output is very much dependant on enhances. Against any speed bonuses of only +1, it's often best to not use Yoga Mastery, as the card added to your pool will make her attack just as hard to block as if you had let that +1 bonus go through.
- Promo Leona will negate any use of Mai's character abilities.
- Foundation control cards such as Unknown Force, Lost Memories, **Nakoruru**, or *Yoshitora will do well to combat *Mai*'s reliance on foundation enhances. Be wary of any Ninjitsu on the field during her turn.
Against Promo Mai:
- Mai's free Stun:2 on your attacks works well with reversals and multiple attacks.