Powerful and spectacular transformations
Every good fighting game has deep layers behind basic neutral attacks. In Killer Instinct, those layers go as far as powerful altered states, in which characters can perform impressive moves and get enhanced abilities. It’s the Instinct Mode!
All Killer Instinct characters have access to this feature, but sure, each Instinct is totally unique.
It wouldn’t be the best idea to choose your primary fighter only because of their Instinct. A more logical way is to analyze the general moveset, try out every fighter directly in matches, and find someone who resonates with your personal style. But then, emotions come to the scene, and the whole logic thing disappears. Many players choose characters because they somehow enjoy their personality, visual style, animation — and of course, cool special tricks, such as the Instinct mode.
There are lots of practical aspects in the Instincts, but in our absolutely serious top list, we decided to focus rather on emotions. We rank the Instinct on the basis of how they look and feel. Is there your character on our list? Would you play someone only because they have an awesomely cool Instinct?
We don’t have practical frame-data analysis in this Top list, but who knows, it still might motivate you to expand your active roster in Killer Instinct.
The Instinct Mode in Nutshell
To activate the Instinct Mode, you should fill the orange bar right under the health bar of your character. That happens while you take damage or perform Combo Breakers. When the bar is full, press HP+HK to activate Instinct.
This activation can cancel a combo to deal additional damage. If you cancel Ultra Combo with HP+HK, you can extend it.
If you are interested in various mechanics in Killer Instinct, Check out DashFight’s guide for beginners.
The 7 Coolest Instincts
This frog is totally cool even without Instinct — just look at those sunglasses! Rash comes from the Battletoads game series, which started back in the NES era.
With the Instinct mode activated, Rash summons his Speeder Bike and drives forward, crashing the opponent. The frog can repeat this trick easily, and with the 8-bit sound style, we have an excellent throwback to classic console gaming.
Destroying opponents by riding over them on a bike? That’s quite an awesome feature for a fighting game! Are Rash friends with Wario? The bikes are plus on block, and Rash doesn’t have to ride them as they hit the victim anyway.
In her fights, this robot can change body types and enhance different abilities. ARIA can increase dash speed, air speed (and get the flying ability), or walk speed (and get farther reaching MP and HP). Well, all three body types become active in ARIA’s Instinct. She takes all the advantages from every body type and suddenly becomes a significantly better character. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
If ARIA loses one of the small robots that help her change body types, she gets a very useful assist instead — to spam with projectiles.
ARIA has a unique ability to deactivate the Instinct mode and return to her normal condition.
Normally, only one part of Eyedol’s head is active, and it dictates the moveset of this character. One of the “heads” turns Eyedol into a Mage. The other one makes him a Warrior.
It’s a very interesting feature that makes Eyedol significantly harder to learn. In fact, you need to understand two movesets and be able to combine them.
The Instinct mode destroys duality for Eyedol and makes him one whole being once again. Both heads are awake, and you have access to both movesets. Eyedol has many cool magic tricks, and he is a strong warrior with devastating attacks.
When Eyedol is in Instinct, he’s sick, ridiculously strong.
This character uses ancient magic to attack his opponents effectively. Many of Kan-Ra’s moves are based on sand. He can use Sand Dash and Jump to move quicker on the stage. Whirl Tornado is an effective projectile powered by sand. With Sacrifice, Kan-Ra himself explodes into the sand and then returns to continue fighting. These awesome techniques require having a Sand Trap, which has a limited resource. With the Instinct mode, this is not a problem.
Kan-Ra is free to use his sand magic as much as he wants to (or the match requires). Not only does this make the character especially dangerous for the opponent, but also such Instinct looks great — imagine becoming an ultimate Sand Mage.
Do you like cats? And what about Firecats?
Orchid can use such creatures as projectiles in her general gameplay. In fact, she turns into a Firecat and then shoots herself at the opponent. Instinct brings this fire show to the next level! Orchid summons cats that run towards the opponent and attack on their own. Meanwhile, you can coin fresh ideas on how to extend Orchid’s combos and get the max damage from her pressure.
In a way, The Instinct mode of Orchid is similar to one of Rash. What do you prefer, Firecat or Speed Bikes? Orchid is higher on our list because cats open more pressure options.
She has lots of spider features. Sadira is a light character, so her moveset is whirling around air moves and attacks. Also, she uses the web to be quicker and more effective. Her Instinct takes this resemblance to spiders and enhances it to the max. Sadira actually turns into a spider-humanoid. How cool is that? But the Instinct is more than just appearance.
Sadira becomes able to jump-cancel her normals and specials. And she throws Web Traps to catch the opponent if they touch the thing. These Web Traps add additional opportunities to prolong your combos.
1. Shin Hisako
She is the winner of our Top List because her Instinct is… totally terrifying. Forget the sand magic and even spider-humanoids! Here we have hands of dead people that break walls between dimensions and try to pull Shin Hisako’s opponent into the dark abyss.
The mystical spot with those hands can track the opponent and thus significantly limits their movement. Shin Hisako can freely walk on the ghostly hands, so it’s a good way to approach her victim safely. The ability to reset Resurgence, makes it one of the most dangerous attacks in the whole game.
What do you say about these Instincts? Would you add something even cooler to the Top List?
If you like various rankings, take a look at how we’ve ranked all the characters in Killer Instinct for basic and competitive play.