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Now that King has flown the coop, who will be rounding out the Women Fighters Team with Mai and Yuri in King of Fighters 15?

This team has had a revolving set of members for the longest time, so there are actually quite a few classic candidates we might see show up

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • May 12, 2021 at 12:34 p.m. PDT • Comments: 34

As has been customary since the year began, we got yet another King of Fighters 15 trailer last week, though this one was a special double-whammy featuring both Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia. Along with their unveiling, they also confirmed that the Art of Fighting team has been grouped together featuring Ryo, Robert and the last March reveal, King.

We had previously seen Mai Shiranui, Yuri Sakazaki and King revealed without any confirmation of a Women Fighters team, so people were already quite sure that these three leading ladies had been split up, though the question was always who's the odd woman out? In a previous speculation piece, I actually called it that King would be grouping up with Art of Fighting this time around. But that leaves the question, who's joining Mai and Yuri for the Women Fighters Team in King of Fighters 15, or are Mai and Yuri even on the same team at all? Let's take a look at some likely candidates.

Regarding the team status for Mai and Yuri, we can't know for sure that the two are teamed up in the Women Fighters Team, but since both of them are hardcore mainstays of it, Mai in particular, and the only viable teams they could've been part of otherwise, the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting teams, are already filled up it seems highly unlikely that they're not going to be forming his classic team together with one more lucky lady.

There's no certainty, but it'd be a very unexpected curveball to see a split at this point. The only feasible alternative is one I've seen speculation on regarding there being two Women Fighters teams, one for Fatal Fury and another for Art of Fighting, but at that point King's inclusion in the regular Art of Fighting team seems strange so I doubt even that scenario.

I'd have to assume at this point that Mai and Yuri are indeed teammates once more and we're waiting on just one last member to round the group out. So who will it be? Well, there are definitely a few options.

Some less likely candidates

There are a lot of different characters who have been part of the Women Fighters team at one point or another and some of them are definitely more likely than others.

Some of the less likely inclusions are longtime absentees Li Xiangfei, Hinako Shijou and May Lee Jinju. Each of these characters have had a game or two where they were one of the Women Fighters team members, but given their long absence from the series as well as their fairly weak connection to either Mai or Yuri, I'd say they aren't too likely.

On top of that, these three characters have in fact been their own team in King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, so if we'd indeed see the return of these fighters (I personally am very much hoping for both Hinako and May Lee to return), they could just as well be the Pretty Girl Fighters team like they were back then, so it doesn't seem like a very likely outcome for just one of them to round out the Women Fighters team.

Another distant possibility is the inclusion of a King of Fighters mainstay woman but who hasn't specifically been part of this team before โ€” Leona Heidern is a character who's entirely confirmed to be in King of Fighters 15 and given that she is indeed a woman, she wouldn't be all too out of place in this team's general theme.

That said, she's also always been part of the Ikari Team when she's in a game, so separating her from it would be unprecedented.

One more such character is Athena Asamiya, SNK's mainstay idol as well as the only woman to be part of every single numbered King of Fighters title, but she also has the distinction of always leading her own team, the Psycho Soldier team. They could theoretically separate her from her classic group and put her into the Women Fighters team, but it seems like a longshot.

While these are distinct possibilities for the Women Fighters team, they all seem quite unlikely. So let's move on to three candidates that have much higher chances of being the final member.

Alice Garnet Nakata

Alice is most definitely the "easy pick" since she was the final member of the Women Fighters team last game, King of Fighters 14, alongside Mai and King.

Although the character did exist through certain Fatal Fury materials before this, it was her playable debut and she was received quite well. Since she's only been in one game, she's obviously only had one stint as a member of the Women Fighters team as well.

The fact that she has a model fully ready and is one of the new characters SNK would likely want to push a bit more gives her a good edge and she's definitely the easy choice when compared to anyone else, but given the ongoing slogan from SNK of "Shatter All Expectations", the easy choice suddenly becomes less likely by default.

With word from SNK producers that team compositions will differ greatly this time arounds as well as us having already seen some evidence of that with teams like the Hero Team and the Sacred Treasures team, Alice's spot may well be in danger.

Of course, some teams are just what you'd expect them to be such as Team Fatal Fury, so it's not like she's out of the running by default or anything. I'd still say that she's the safest pick for a prediction, but I personally expect her to be sidelined from this particular team, though maybe not from the game's roster entirely.

Mary "Blue Mary" Ryan

Easily one of the most popular characters in the King of Fighters franchise, Blue Mary had a perfect record of inclusion in the series until she was left out of King of Fighters 12 and 13, eventually making her return as one of the post-launch DLC picks in King of Fighters 14. Because of this, she shares Alice's advantage of having a model already finished.

Blue Mary hasn't always been in the same teams and has jumped around a bit, but she was part of the Women Fighters team in King of Fighters '99 and King of Fighters 2003. Curiously enough, Mary has actually never shared a team with Yuri before, so if it were here that would be a first.

The thing about Mary is that she has a lot of other teams that could easily fit her. Assuming Billy and Yamazaki are brought back, you could reunite her original Special Team from King of Fighters '97 even though they don't fit together particularly well for lore purposes anymore.

Her Fatal Fury origin could also easily tie her to the Garou cast if SNK decided to bring back Rock Howard and maybe even other Garou fighters who have descended upon King of Fighters in the past like B. Jenet, Gato or Tizoc (who totally isn't King of Dinosaurs, by the way).

The popularity and iconic stature of Blue Mary coupled with her existing model makes her a highly likely pick to return in King of Fighters 15, but would she be part of the Women Fighters team if she's back? It's entirely possible, but my money is actually on a different character...

Kasumi Todoh

Kasumi is a semi-regular character in King of Fighters, though her origin lies in the Art of Figthing series as a reluctant antagonist who continuously searches for her missing father Ryuhaku Todoh.

While she may have had an antagonist role at one point, she's definitely not a mean girl by any stretch and fits in perfectly with the Women Fighters crew, in fact having more appearances as a member than anyone else in this speculation piece โ€” she was part of the team in King of Fighters '96, King of Fighters '99, King of Fighters 2000 and King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match.

In fact, her only King of Fighters appearance where she wasn't a member of this team specifically was back in King of Fighters 11 where she was one of the members of the oddball Anti-Kyokugenryu Team.

Incidentally, 11 was also her last appearance in the series meaning that she's been missing for quite some time at this point, despite her popularity. With the rotating cast of King of Fighters, it's inevitable for some characters to have to take a break for a while, but she still felt like a slightly strange omission in King of Fighters 14 where a lot of classic characters were brought back.

With King of Fighters 15 already bringing back the much-sought after Orochi Team consisting of Yashiro Nanakase, Shermie and Chris as well as marking the long-awaited return of Chizuru Kagura, it's hardly a big stretch to imagine that we'll see other missed classic characters joining the roster as well.

Kasumi checks a lot of boxes for me โ€” she's been gone long enough for people to really miss her but not too long where she's become irrelevant, she's the most consistent member of the Women Fighters team who isn't already in and even though I was already counting on her, something today tilted me even further in her direction.

There's also the fact that Kasumi's unique brand of gameplay isn't quite represented by anyone else we've seen revealed so far. As an Aikido-based character, she relies a lot on countering and responding to the opponent's moves in a way that's quite different from what the current roster has to offer.

Most people are assuming that the silhouette for today's reveal is of Leona Heidern given that we already know she's in the game and that the pose easily looks like something she would do, but I'm actually expecting this silhouette to be of Kasumi in order to close out the Women Fighters team.

Even if we do get Leona tonight, I still think that Kasumi will be the final member of this team, but as outlined above there are obviously many different viable picks. We'll find out in a few hours who the silhouette is and what their impact on the known teams is as well.

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