Style: Glass Cannon
Most Similar To: Carmine (UNIEL), Dante (UMvC3)
Strengths: Mira has it all in Killer Instinct. She has unbelievable damage output, unreactable high-low mixup games during her pressure, a strong space-controlling projectile, very good shadow moves, above average footsies, and nearly unmatched air mobility that leads to very ambiguous mixups almost at will. When a Mira player is on a roll, she will be incredibly difficult to stop, and any mistakes against her may be punished for your entire life bar. On paper, she is maybe the strongest character in the entire game.
Weaknesses: Ah, if only it was that easy. Mira's extremely pronounced weakness is her "blood health" system, a mechanic that slowly kills her every time she uses most of her outstanding tools. It is entirely possible to dominate most of an entire round, then look up at your health bar and see that you and your opponent are actually even on health. To compensate, Mira has to spend effort regaining her blood health with moves that do zero damage to her opponent. Her offense, while difficult to block, is also readily shadow counterable by good defenders, and she has weaker than average anti-air ability.
Best Counter-Breaker Combos
Low Risk Versions
0 Meter: HP double > heavy Reaping > HP double > light Embrace > Reaping ender (68%)
1 Meter: HP double > heavy Reaping > LP double > Shadow Trephine > Reaping ender (72%)
2 Meter: HP double > heavy Reaping > LP double > Shadow Trephine > Shadow Reaping ender (75%)
High Risk Versions
0 Meter: Hold MP+MK during counter break > LP manual > heavy Reaping > LP manual > heavy Reaping > Reaping ender (75%)
1 Meter: Hold MP+MK during counter break > LP manual > heavy Reaping > HP double > Shadow Trephine > Reaping ender (77%)
2 Meter: Hold MP+MK during counter break > LP manual > heavy Reaping > HP double > Shadow Trephine > Shadow Reaping ender (80%)
( Damage calculation notes)
Low Risk Notes: Mira's no-meter counter break combo is, by leaps and bounds, the highest in the game. She also gets to sneak a light Embrace in there, which regenerates some of the health she spends on the heavy Reaping linker, so this combo adds only a pixel of blood damage to Mira herself. As you can see, she actually doesn't gain much for spending meter in her combos. She only has one shadow linker, and her shadow damage ender, shadow Reaping, doesn't do considerably more than just regular level 4 Reaping. As such, I recommend you use the no-meter combo almost all the time, and keep her meter for uses in neutral or for Shadow Embrace enders to regain a huge chunk of Mira's blood health.
High Risk Notes: I call these "high risk" versions because Mira adds considerable blood damage to herself (around 15%), and these combos have tight timing. Normally, when a character does a counter break, they transition to the combo using an automatic medium linker. However, holding MP+MK during the counter breaker will do an automatic heavy linker instead. This doesn't benefit any other KI character except Mira, because heavy Reaping does so much damage. In order for these combos to work, you must perform the LP manuals as soon as possible; if you are late even by just a few frames, the back end of the combo extends past the lockout window. But with a bit of practice it is very reliable, and if you are willing to spend the high blood health cost, the reward is absolutely massive. As a bonus, there's a highly damaging combo that uses 2 meters and instinct.
Unique Mechanic: Blood Damage
Mira is an incredibly strong character, but using her best tools comes at a cost; she damages herself whenever certain mobility tools or special moves are used. The damage she inflicts is called "blood damage" (the in-game move list calls it "recoverable damage"), and is represented by silver on her health bar. This silver health is not potential damage, but rather real damage which has been fully subtracted from her life bar. The opponent does not have to cash out the silver damage to kill Mira, because the health is already gone. If you are familiar with team-based games, it helps to think of blood damage as the red damage you would see on a Marvel vs. Capcom character's health bar.
You deal blood damage to yourself when you use any of Mira's air mobility tools, namely Mist Form and Air Dash, and the medium and heavy versions of her special moves. Her normals never cost blood damage to use. In particular, the medium and heavy versions of Trephine, Blood Seekers, and Reaping cause blood damage to Mira; even the medium and heavy linker versions of Reaping (though not the other specials) will hurt Mira. If your entire health bar is spent, you cannot kill yourself by inflicting blood damage. Instead, your silver health will slowly decrease until your health bar is completely empty, at which point you will be completely unable to perform any move that would cause blood damage.
To make up for this, each move that inflicts blood damage is very strong. Mist Form and Air Dash let Mira control the air space with incredible mobility and mixups from far away, and Mist Form in particular is a very slippery reversal option that will keep opponents guessing. When blood damage is spent, Trephine is a half-screen attack that is safe on block, Blood Seekers will travel slowly and home in on the opponent, and Reaping is an unreactable high-low mixup that is only marginally unsafe on block, while the linker versions of Reaping do unbelievably high damage during a combo. The heavy version of these special moves consumes more blood damage than the medium version.
Most importantly, blood damage is not forever lost. Mira's final special move, the command grab Embrace, does not cost life to use but instead restores a portion of your blood damage when used in neutral, as a linker, or as an ender. Each version also does zero damage to your opponent. The light version of Embrace is fast but close range, while the medium version can act as an anti-air and the heavy version can be used to grab a grounded opponent from further away. The shadow version is particularly good; it is fast, unjumpable after the shadow freeze, and always heals the same, large amount of blood damage whenever it is used, including as an ender at any level.
This constant give-and-take defines the challenge when playing Mira, as she must sacrifice damage dealt to her opponent in order to heal herself of her blood damage. At any time, you can choose to play with extreme aggression, spending large amounts of your blood health to try to run over your opponent with unreactable mixups, safe on block pressure strings, and strong air mobility. But be warned, even if all your offense works, you might find yourself even on life with your opponent at the end of the day. Another option is to play cautiously, restoring blood health quickly as you use it, but you will find yourself unable to play to Mira's strengths if you prioritize this strategy too heavily. The best option is somewhere in the middle, and understanding when to spend blood health and when to restore it is the crux of good Mira play.
Openers: Trephine (shadow OK), Reaping
Mira has two special moves she can use as standard openers, but they have different behavior depending on the button press. The light versions of these moves do not cost blood health to use, but they are weaker as a result. Light Trephine, a mid-hitting drill move, is quite unsafe on block but is a good opener to use in a hit confirm situation so you don't have to spend blood health to start your combo. If you block a drill from Mira and she does not cross you up, be sure to punish her. Medium Trephine ends up behind the opponent with Mira at -1 disadvantage; the benefit here is that Mira can switch sides with her opponent and escape the corner if she is trapped. Heavy Trephine keeps Mira in front and finishes with a kick flip that is an amazing +2 on block, keeping Mira on the offensive. The medium and heavy versions both cost blood health to use, but they are strong tools when Mira wants to keep her frame advantage and start a combo if they happen to hit. Shadow Trephine should be used only for its projectile invincibility.
Reaping, a special move where Mira creates a scythe out of her blood magic, has different utility. The light version is Mira's only safe on block combo starter that does not cost blood health. If you are trying to end a block string without adding to your blood health deficit, this is one way to do it, but Mira ends at -2 disadvantage so her turn is over. Medium and heavy Reaping look identical to light Reaping on the first hit, as Mira steps forward, but then medium strikes for a very fast low attack, while heavy strikes for a very fast overhead attack. These attacks are both only marginally unsafe at -4 on block (unpunishable by normal attacks), and are so fast that blocking high or low on reaction is impossible. Unlike Trephine, Reaping should be used if you are looking to mix your opponent up at the cost of blood health.
The combination of Trephine and Reaping in neutral is incredibly strong for Mira, even though it costs her blood health to use the best versions. She can keep herself at positive frame advantage while trying to hit you with unreactable mixups, but there is a very important catch; all versions of Trephine and Reaping hit twice, which means they are very weak to shadow counters. If you are playing against Mira, it is absolutely essential that you learn to shadow counter these special moves, and as a bonus for the defender, Mira will spend the blood health in addition to getting hit. Be sure to keep a stock of shadow meter around so you can prevent Mira's strongest grounded offense from going to work, and try to activate shadow counter as soon as you see Mira animate in any way that might be a special move cancel.Other Combo Starters: Blood Seekers (shadow OK)
Blood Seekers is Mira's projectile. Like her regular openers, the light version does not cost blood health to use, but the medium and heavy versions do. The light version sends three bats in a straight line that travel at a decent pace across the screen, while Mira recovers relatively quickly after they are released and can follow behind them with an air dash. If the bats hit, you can start a combo with any manual, just like virtually all characters with projectiles in Killer Instinct. In Mira's case, you might be in the air, so your manual might be a jumping normal.
Medium Blood Seekers will track the opponent's location at the time the move was performed, while heavy Blood Seekers move slowly and always track the opponent, and will only disappear if they make contact or Mira herself gets hit. These projectiles, even the light version, can cause good harassment from many ranges, strengthening Mira's approach while the opponent is preoccupied. Try canceling into Blood Seekers off normals during your pressure; your opponent can use projectile invincible moves to get through the startup, but they must be very prepared in the midst of Mira's smothering offense.
Shadow Blood Seekers is particularly noteworthy, as it is one of the better uses of shadow meter in the game. Mira summons a swarm of bats from beneath the opponent's feet, keeping them stuck in place while Mira is free to roam around. If the opponent blocks this shadow move, they will have to deal with Mira's scary offense for a brief period, without the usual options of reversals or shadow counters, and if the opponent is hit by it, Mira gets a free manual to begin a combo. Ideally, though, Mira players want you to block this move so they can try to open you up by something more devious.
If Mira does get her opponent to block it, they're in for a tough couple of seconds. Mira gets free rein to move around while you are blocking the bats, and she can force a difficult series of mixups on you. This is including, but not limited to, simple crossups, fake crossups involving air dashes, and empty jump low setups. If they successfully block for the duration of shadow Blood Seekers, Mira ends with frame advantage and can take another shot.
It is important to know which of Mira's moves will let her cancel into a guaranteed (blocked) shadow Blood Seekers. All medium and heavy normals (except standing HP) will do the job, even her beastly standing MP and crouching MK normals, but it is not a tight block string after all special moves. In particular, light Trephine (the normally unsafe drill) will work, giving Mira a strong way in from far range, and medium Reaping (the low part of the Reaping mixup) is tight as well, making one half of this mixup very strong. But heavy Reaping and medium Trephine canceled to shadow Blood Seekers is not tight, and you will have a brief window right after the shadow move screen freeze completes to input a reversal. The recommended move here is a projectile invincible shadow move so you can start your own combo, but the move choice will depend on which character you're using and your resources available. And, of course, if Mira tries to set this up via a normally guaranteed method, you should be looking to shadow counter the preceding special move. But if an opportunity slips by, don't let Mira get away with a poor activation of shadow Blood Seekers!Linkers: Trephine (shadow OK), Reaping, Embrace
All three of Mira's linkers have important uses. Trephine is a "standard" linker in that it never consumes blood health, and should be used when you are trying to complete a more standard, less risky combo. While shadow Trephine can be used as a linker, I recommend you avoid using it, since it doesn't add much damage and spends very precious resources that Mira needs for much better uses. Reaping linkers spend blood health just like her uses of Reaping in neutral do. In particular, heavy Reaping as a linker does an absurd amount of damage, leading to extremely punishing lockout combos at a cost to Mira's health. Use Reaping linkers when you want to make your opponent pay dearly for a mistake. As a defender, you should practice combo breaking Reaping linkers, as they have strong visual tells, so you do not get hit by the extremely high damage when you are not locked out. Embrace does zero damage as a linker, but recovers some lost blood health per bite. This linker is great to use in between rounds to build up your lost blood health, or in times when healing yourself needs to take priority over dealing damage to your opponent.
Shadow Linkers: Mira only has one shadow linker, and it has fairly standard break timing. Breaking this linker on the final three hits, after you've heard the rhythm of the first two, is quite straightforward and shouldn't cause many lockouts. The only small note worth mentioning is that there's a slightly longer than average gap between the end of the shadow freeze and the first hit, so if you try to break immediately you might lock yourself out. Just delay your first break attempt slightly and there should be no problem.
As with the linkers, each of Mira's enders has an important use. Reaping is a very strong damage ender, useful after any of Mira's highly damaging ground combos. Avoid the shadow ender unless you are cashing out an air juggle, however, since it does not add enough damage to your grounded combo to be worth the meter cost. Embrace does not gain shadow meter like most battery enders, but instead will heal back different amounts of blood health depending on the ender level. Shadow Embrace is especially good as an ender, since you will always get the maximum possible blood health gain, even when used at level 1. This, alongside shadow Blood Seekers, is Mira's best use of shadow meter, and if you have spent lots of blood health, you should be using this often.
Not to be outdone, Blood Seekers is maybe her best ender when near the corner, because it allows Mira to get a guaranteed heavy or shadow Embrace follow-up for blood health gain after the wall splat occurs. Because command throws cannot blow out the KV meter and cannot be combo broken, this is always guaranteed, and if you are near the corner and have some blood health deficit, you should almost always use this ender to regain your health risk free. And lastly, Trephine launches the opponent for a juggle, which can lead to a recapture, some tricky air juggles, or can reposition the opponent out of the corner so that Mira's dirty left-right mixups are more potent. This ender is best used only if you have practiced some setups in training mode, however, as the benefits from the other enders are too strong to ignore without optimal setups.
Recapture & Flipout: Heavy Reaping (recapture)
With no flipout, Mira is left with just heavy Reaping, which recaptures. This can be used after the Trephine launcher ender to extend a combo, which can be extra potent in certain situations, such as when Mira has attached Vampire Mist to her opponent during instinct. It is also important to use after an anti-air crouching HP, letting Mira turn an anti-air into a grounded combo; since the opponent has not been hit by an opener before the recapture, in this situation it will be unbreakable.
Instinct Mode: Mira's instinct comes piecemeal over three abilities. The first is that she can use Air Dash as many times as she likes in the air. Although each air dash will cost her the regular amount of blood health, this gives her extra mobility for escapes, approaches, and mixups. Secondly, a homing Blood Seeker automatically spawns in front of Mira every 3 seconds whenever she is not being hit. The Blood Seeker will disappear if Mira gets hit, but this gives her a free way to keep her opponent preoccupied during her approach.
The final ability is Vicious Shroud, also known as Vampire Mist, a new move available only in instinct. By pressing HP+HK again, Mira releases a mist in front of her which slowly tracks her opponent's position before disappearing a few character lengths away. If the opponent makes contact with this mist, whether it hits or is blocked, it will attach to them and slowly cause potential damage while also slowly healing Mira's blood health. When instinct ends or Mira gets hit, the mist disappears. Once you activate instinct, it should be a priority to try and attach a mist to your opponent. Not only will this give you more freedom to spend blood health, but your combos will do more damage as the potential damage slowly accrues. Some ways you might consider trying to attach a mist include instinct canceling shadow Blood Seekers and attaching it to them while they are getting hit or blocking, or instinct canceling during a juggle after Trephine ender, attaching a mist, then continuing the juggle and performing a huge cashout.
Normals to watch: Mira's grounded pokes are definitely not to be underestimated, despite her strong specials and air mobility. Perhaps her best poke is standing MP, a very far range, fast attack that can be special canceled into Blood Seekers for harassment, Trephine for frame advantage, or Reaping for a mixup. Standing MK also quite strong, as it is faster than standing MP, but has less range, so opt for this poke if you are close enough instead and keep standing MP for longer range irritation. Crouching MK is an exceptionally far low attack which threatens from about two character lengths away, and standing HK causes Mira to lunge forward with a very far ranging kick to the face. The important thing about these particular normals is that they only hit once; since Mira is susceptible to shadow counters on most of her special moves, you should sometimes not special cancel these moves to keep your opponent honest. Her highest damage normal is Vicious Strikes, her +HP command normal which should be used to start punishes.
Since Mira has strong air mobility, you should also keep jumping HP and jumping HK at the ready. Jumping HP is her go-to attack when you want to attack someone in front of you, as it hits downward from a high angle, while jumping HK is a very strong crossup attack, perfect after Mist Form or air dash trickery.
Specials to watch: Trephine, Reaping, Blood Seekers, and Embrace have seen discussion in earlier sections, but perhaps Mira's best special is Mist Form, an invincible teleport which can be performed on the ground or in the air, and optionally steered in any of the eight cardinal directions. When steered horizontally, it goes extremely far, which gives Mira numerous options for escaping pressure, dodging anti-airs, or applying mixups. It is not dissimilar to Omen's Shadow Form, except the horizontal movement is farther and it costs Mira blood health instead of shadow meter. If Mira uses Mist Form in the air, she regains the ability to air dash, which means she can air dash, Mist Form, and then air dash once more.
In practical fights, Mist Form is also great as a reversal, especially if you mix up how you steer it, and whether you air dash forwards or backwards (or not at all) after it. Because Mist Form is invincible at the very start, opponents will have to have planned approaches or option selects for handling up-back or back Mist Form. If Mira tries to use up-forward Mist Form against someone preparing to chase a backwards Mist Form, she will likely get to escape or, better yet, apply some offense of her own if the opponent chose to block. Up-forward Mist Form can be anti-aired, but your opponent will have to be prepared for specifically this move. Mix in air dashes either backwards or forwards to frustrate your opponent's attempts to pressure you. Just be prepared for a hefty blood health cost every time you Mist Form.
General strategy: Mira is both an easy and difficult character to play. Her gameplan is extremely versatile, since she can be a mixup or pressure monster, has great grounded footsies and aerial mobility, and a high capacity for frustrating her opponents. In this sense, she has many tools to suit the situation at hand at any time. But the cost of managing her blood health is great, and without smart applications of these tools, you will find yourself losing rounds you had otherwise dominated. It's fun to spend lots of blood health trying to open someone up, but a more measured approach is the only way Mira can be stable in the long term.
Although Mira is quite strong, she does have pronounced weaknesses that both you and your opponent need to be aware of. The importance of her special moves being so weak to shadow counters cannot be understated; if you have a stock of shadow meter lying around, a lot of her mixups and pressure game is extremely risky. Mira players will have to slow down and use more 1-hit normals, air approaches, or throws against players who have proven they can shadow counter Mira's offense. And her anti-air is below average, with only medium Embrace and crouching HP getting the job done here, and both need to be performed quite pre-emptively, especially against beefy jump-in attacks. Attacking Mira from the air is definitely a good idea, and eventually you may just force Mira to spend blood health on Mist Form just to try to evade.
But ideally, you should find what strategies your opponent is weak to, and spend your blood health on those aspects of Mira's game. If they like to combo break often, counter break them and perform Mira's outrageously damaging counter breaker combos to kill them in one opening. If they have weak anti-air skills, abuse Mira's air dashes and Mist Form for unpredictable air approaches. If they get frustrated by hit-and-run, keep them at bay with Blood Seekers zoning. If they like to press buttons under pressure, use heavy Trephine and shadow Blood Seekers for frame advantage. If they are weak to blocking mixups, additionally throw in medium and heavy Reaping. Try not to let your blood health get too out of control; end some of your midscreen combos with shadow Embrace, throw in some Embrace linkers while your opponent is locked out, and end your corner combos with the wall splat ender followed by heavy Embrace to keep tabs on this. But Mira, at her core, is about high-risk, high-reward gameplay. Once you find your opponent's weakness, you'll need to hit them hard where it hurts, before Mira kills herself.