This is an adaptation of the Hakumen beginner guide by the_undercover_beret.
This guide uses common fighting game terminology (Neutral, mix-up, tiger Knee…). The definitions can be found at the Glossary Section.
Hakumen is a defensive character, who relies on strong neutral tools and powerful combos. His trademark is his unique meter gauge which fills up passively and generates stocks called "magatama". Those stocks are consumed whenever Hakumen uses a special or distortion drives. Meter management is at the core of his playstyle. His overdrive is also among the best ones in the game, as it boosts his passive meter gain exponentially. It opens up a wide range of combo options and grants him one of the highest damage ceiling in the game.
In neutral, Hakumen possesses some of the farthest reaching normals in the game and decent defensive options with his counters. His weaknesses lies in his limited mobility, overall slow normals and poor pressure. Consequently, Hakumen tends to struggle against fast characters and zoners. This guide provides an overview of the character, teaches about his tools, how to them effectively and provides a few general tips and tricks.
Common mistakes at low level
At low level, the most common mistakes is to abuse Hakumen's C-button because. However, this is a terrible habit as most of his C-normals are on the slow side and punishable. 6C requires a CH to combo, 3C is heavily punishable on block, j.2C is easy to anti-air. Most notably, ending blockstrings with 3C and IAD j.2C are two of the most common issues at low level.
Likewise, most new players tend to abuse the drive button. The drive button is high-risk/medium-reward and isn't a substitute to a proper guard, only use when certain the opponent is gonna attempt a meaty, a blockstring with a gap or on reaction.
Most new Hakumen players tend to send too much time in the air and airdash too much. Unfortunately, Hakumen's mobility options are very limited and extremely telegraphed. As such, he is very easy to anti-air. Spending time on the ground, poking with 4C or 2B, hoping back and forth, approaching with 623AA are also very strong tools to deal with neutral.
At last, most new players spend a sizeable amount of meter in combos or pressure. Careful meter management is mandatory with Hakumen as is meter gain is pretty slow and optimal meter management is key at high level. Usually, 2~3 magatama are spent at most in non-OD combos.
Neutral is at the core of Hakumen’s playstyle. He benefits from strong long range pokes: 4C on the ground and j.C in the air. One of the top priorities with Hakumen is to learn the exact range of those pokes to use them properly.
4C is Hakumen's main ground neutral tool. It covers a wide space and and only has 10 frames of start-up. Some characters struggle to deal with it and have issues approaching Hakumen on the ground. Learning how to space it properly is key and staying at 4C max range is key. On the negative side, 4C requires a CH to get a combo and it is impossible to combo from a max range 4C CH. Be careful when using 4C, as it has quite a lot of recovery and a large hurtbox before the active frames. Notably, some character can low-profile it consistently like Izanami's with 2B.
j.C is essentially an air version of 4C with similar perks and drawbacks. It has an excellent hitbox but usually doesn't lead to any combo on air hit.
Those pokes define Hakumen’s neutral. They both are amazing tools thanks to their range. Only a few characters can contest them at max distance. Moreover, landing several of them will deal significant damage without consuming meter. This is particularly useful at the start and the end of a round to respectively gain the life lead and keep the opponent at bay while stocking up on magatamas.
Both 4C and j.C are susceptible to moves that can low profile and 4C can be punished with a well-spaced IAD.
At close range, Hakumen also has a few neat tools. 2B has deceptively long range for its animation and is very fast for a 2B (8 frames of start-up). His 2A’s reach is one of the best in the game as well.
2A is a 7f poke with a fairly high range and has the most gatling options of any Hakumen normal. It is excellent close range tool in neutral and pressure. It combos into 2B for reliable 1 and magatama combos.
2B is a 8f low with a surprisingly large hitbox. It has a lot of active fraes making it ideal to catch rolls. It combos into 2A/214A/623AA/236B.
A very common mistake while starting Hakumen is the overuse of Hakumen’s subpar C-normals ( 3C, 6C, j.2C) at the expense of his other more solid normals like 2A and 2B. Those C-normals are slow and easily punishable. Autopiloting 3C in neutral and blockstrings is especially bad, as it’s -12, non cancellable and leaves Hakumen crouched. The earlier the players get rid of that bad habit, the better.
Ironically, 2A and 2B are also often more rewarding since 3C and 6C most of the time require a CH to combo, whereas 2A and 2B are special cancellable and can lead to solid combos at a low cost. Hakumen gains meter passively, as such, turtling from fullscreen to get meter and waiting for the opponent to approach and intercept them with pokes or OD into a powerful combo is an effective playstyle.
Hakumen cannot run and only has access to short hops. Adjusting distance between both characters can be tricky at times. It also makes approaching tough, but several tools are available to help with that. Both forward hop and backdash are fast and several specials move Hakumen forward.
Hakumen holds two excellent specials to approach 623AA and 214D. If used wisely, those moves are very potent neutral tools.
623AA is invulnerable to body and head attribute moves. It does a formidable job at dealing with pokes, jumps and air dashes. It's -4 on block but can be special cancelled into any other special move to frame trap or make it safe. On the flip side, It’s weak against projectiles, throws and lows, other characters can deal with it with strong low normals, like Jin's 3C, so don’t be predictable with it.
214D is more costly than 623AA but is invulnerable to everything but grabs. If it catches a move, Hakumen will be fully invincible until he recovers, making it very useful to approach zoners. However, It has a long start-up and is punishable (-7) if it doesn’t catch any attack or if it isn't cancelled into another special. The move's invulnerability only starts on the 4th frame. It thus loses against meaty or if poorly timed. Another drawback is that 214D requires meter to combo on top of its 2 magatama cost. As such, combos after it tend to be very costly.
623AA and 214D, no matter how strong they are, they have their weaknesses and over-relying on them will make it predictable and easy to punish. Those options have to be used cautiously. They also require a sizeable amount of meter to worthwhile so use them sparingly. Hakumen's air dash covers a lot of distance. However, it has a long animation which makes it easy to anti-air. To circumvent that, Haku has access to j.D and j.214A.
j.D parries and counters non-grab/unblockable moves. It is the quintessential anti-anti-air move. This move has no minimum height requirement and doesn't cancel momentum, a close to the ground j.D can be difficult to punish despite the landing recovery. Still, Hakumen will be vulnerable while falling after j.D so be careful when doing it from an high position. Anti-airs that can be jump cancelled on block can block the counter grab if the opponent reacts fast enough.
j.214A is a unique air tool, it has every attack property which means it can bypass anti-airs and moves that are also body invincible, like Valkenhayn’s 6A for instance. It also cancels the momentum in the air and has a large hitbox, which can be used after a high jump to make anti-air whiffs and punish them. The attack will only lose to fully invulnerable moves like DPs or moves with full armor.
Hakumen's other air normals are also very solid and fill different purposes. Notably, IAD j.A, 9jc delay j.2A, close to the ground j.2C.
IAD j.A can be used to preemptively defeat air-to-air and protect Hakumen against air grabs. This also helps timing an air move as close to the ground as possible and correcting the direction after an IAD cross-up.
j.2C has a great downward and forward hitbox, but it is an extremely slow move. A very common mistake is to use it immediately after an IAD. While it’s possible to hit an opponent from nearly fullscreen with an IAD j.2C, this is predictable and j.2C is very easy to anti-air. The optimal way to use j.2C is near the ground while keeping a certain between both characters. This makes it considerably harder to anti-air succesfully. An example would be 9jc > Barrier/ j.A whiff > Delay j.2C.
Approaching zoners with fullscreen anti-airs is an arduous task. Fortunately, Hakumen can cut projectiles in the air with any sword normal with j.2A being the most commonly used.
It benefits from having a large hitbox in front of Hakumen as well as a lot of active frames. 9jc > Barrier > Delay j.2A is an efficient way to approach zoners while cutting their projectiles. Beware that a poorly timed j.2A will often result in getting counter hit.
Additionally, Hakumen has an advanced mobility option called forward hop cancel. As the name implies, Haku's forward hop (66) can be cancelled with a jump (7/8/9) while keeping the hop’s momentum. This is done by inputting the jump very quickly after the forward hop.
669 especially useful with a forward jump to get a lot of momentum and travel long distances. Forward hop can also be cancelled into a super jump with 62369. This isn't as useful as it makes it easier to go under Hakumen and sideswap. Moreover, 669 already covers more than enough distance for most situations.
Even though Hakumen has a lot of anti-air options, they are all situational and require a proper read of the game.
2C is Hakumen's built-in anti-air, it boasts a huge vertical hitbox and leads to rewarding combos on CH. Sadly, it's a little slow and the invulnerability comes late. It requires a proper read of the game to be effective. Its biggest drawback, however, is its 33 frames of recovery, making easily punishable if it whiffs. To add salt to the injury it leaves Hakumen crouched, which tends to lead to even more punishing combos. On block, it’s special cancellable into 214A and 623A to make it safe.
5A can act like an anti-air since it only has 5 frames of start-up and has a surprisingly decent vertical and horizontal hitbox. 5A should only be used at close range, if the opponent is neither too hight, too far or behind. It's usability also suffers from the logical lack of invulnerability, which hinders its usefulness against mix-up/pressure using jumps.
Sometimes, both 2C and 5A are hard to use, in particular against ambiguous cross-ups, since they may come out in the wrong direction. In that case, 5D, 6D and 23623 6D can work as alternatives to catch jump-ins. However, they are easily defeated by empty jumps and safe jumps.
623AA has invincibility to head and body attributes move. Per se, it can thus be considered an anti-air. However, it’s hard to use it at such, since it moves Hakumen forward a lot and most of the time, both 623AA and the opponent’s jump-in will whiff. However, since it moves Hakumen forward it makes it very effective at dealing with air backdashes and certain moves in neutral.
Overall, 5A is the anti-air that is the most practical, 2C and counters require a greater a understanding of the match's flow, but they shouldn't be ignored regardless. While his anti-airs options aren't that great, they somewhat cover each other weaknesses. Knowing when to use each anti-air is key to be able to win at higher level.
As stated in the neutral section, j.C is one of Hakumen's strongest tool. It is one of the air-to-air with the longest reach in the game. A properly spaced j.C can shut down most air-to-air options. Learning how to use it properly is mandatory. His other air-to air options are nothing to scoff at either.
j.A is a very fast air-to-air. It possesses a generous hitbox for a j.A as well as little recovery, it can be used to preemptively beat air approaches or to apply pressure on the opponent after an air dash. If blocked in the air, it can be used to apply pressure into j.A > j.B > Land > 5A > ... or j.Ax1~2 > Air Throw.
j.B is a bit slower but has a bigger hitbox and leads to higher rewards on CH. On block, it can be cancelled into j.A or J. 2A to keep the pressure going until landing. It also has an excellent hitbox especially in the back. As such, it’s a strong move after a cross-up.
j.2A benefits from having a lot of active frame and a large hitbox. As stated in the mobility section, it is primarily used to cuts projectiles and is an excellent defensive air-to-air option.
When to use which then? j.A is more effective at close range since it has a smaller hitbox and and is faster, whereas j.2A is more adequate from further (about roundstart distance plus one backdash). j.B is an in-between, and can be useful after an IAD to get a strong combo on CH.
j.2C and J. 214A can be used as air-to-air as well by exploiting their big hitboxes below them. After an high jump, it’s possible to hit an opponent below to gain the advantage or to punish an air move that whiffed.
Hakumen’s offense is very situational and subpar. His mix-up tools are very basic. Extending pressure requires using specials and therefore consuming precious meter. Hakumen is also very weak against barrier blocking and mix-ups are limited. As such, pressure relies more on frame-traps and throw reject miss setups. Okizeme options are also fairly limited, but are good at preventing the opponent from rolling on wake up and can be surprisingly rewarding if the opponent doesn't know how to deal with them.
Mix-up and pressure
Hakumen's most common mix-up options are as followed:
- 2A > 2A > 2B or 6B: Basic meterless high/low mixup. On instant block, there is a gap between 2A > 2A and 2A > 2B and it’s therefore weak against reversals, but this hardly ever happens. By delaying the 2B this mix-up act as a frame-trap and will prevent fuzzy blocking.
- 2A > (Delay) Throw: Basic throw mix-up. Keep in mind that if 2A is barriered the throw will whiff. Delay the throw to beat the Barrier/Tech throw OS.
- 2A/5B/2B/5C/2C > 236B/41236C: A high-low mixup that uses meter, be wary since Zantetsu has a rather obvious animation and is easily reactable with a bit of practice, so don’t get predictable with it. Delaying the 23 6B prevents fuzzy blocking.
- 2A/2B/5B/5C/2C > 623A > Throw: The other throw mix-up, reacting to 623A is difficult and it narrows the gap between both players, making it less vulnerable to barrier.
- 2B/5B/5C/2C > 214A > 2A: Pressure extender, like 623A it brings Hakumen closer to the opponent. 214A is only +1 on block, so if it's instant blocked, 2A can be interrupted.
- 2A > 5B: Basic frame trap. There is a 2-frame gap between 2A and 5B. Be careful when using it, because 5B can whiff if done from too far or if 2A is barriered.
- 5B > 2B/6B: Meterless high/low mix-up. There is a 2-frame gap between 5B and 2B, making it also a useful frame-trap. 5B > 2B/ 6B is harder to use as 2B and 6B often whiffs if 5B is barriered. 2A > 5B > 2B works at close range even if both 2A and 5B are barriered, but not 2A > 2A > 5B > 2B. With 2A > 5B > 6B, 6B will whiff if either 2A or 5B is barriered.
- 2A > Slight delay 6A: Basic frame-trap, typically used to end pressure safely. It’s a little trickier to use and rare as it comes with a few drawbacks.
6A is -1 (0 from a afar) on block and only gatling into 6B and drives. 6A > 6B is gapless, but 6B is -4 and easy to IB after a 6A. 6A and 6B can both be cancelled by drives, however, it’s an even riskier gamble as it leaves Hakumen open to even greater punishes. If an opponent is respecting too much, 6A > 2A/2B can be used to continue the pressure or beat someone expecting a 6B and blocking high respectively. However, there is a wide gap between 6A and 2A/ 2B due to the lack of gatlings.
Those are the most practical ones, he can extend his pressure by using additional specials, but it’s not recommended since meter is precious and the reward won’t be worthwhile.
Unlike most characters, Hakumen cannot cancel some of his normals immediately into other normals. A small amount of time has to be waited. This is called a late gatling. Haku's late gatlings are as followed:
- 5A: Cancellable on the 10th frame into 5B, 6B, 3C, 6A.
- 5B: Cancellable on the 21st frame into 5A, 2A, 2B, 6A, 6B.
- 2A: Cancellable on the 11th frame into 2A, 2B, 5A, 5B, 3C.
- 2B: Cancellable on the 18th frame into 2A, 5A.
This section will only cover the basic okizeme options, for more details check the dedicated okizeme section on Dustloop. As mentioned prior, Hakumen’s oki is pretty weak. However, most defensive options can be covered. The 3 main okizeme enders are 6B, j.214A and 3C. Arguably, 6B is the best one and 3C the worst one.
3C is the easiest okizeme to get, it can be done after a grounded hit 2A and is a common ender for 0 magatama combos. 3C is, however, Hakumen's worst okizeme ender as it as a lot of recovery and doesn't provide much frame advantage. If the resources and starters allow it, going for a 6B or j.214A is usually a much better idea.
- 3C > Hop 2A/ 2B: 2A can be used as a meaty, but it loses to rolls. 2B has a lot of active frames so it's slighly better at catching rolls and can combo into 214A for high damage roll punish. Both 2A and 2B lose to most reversals and delayed neutral tech.
- 2A > 2A > 3C
- 2B > 2A > 3C
- 2A > 2B > 214A > 2A > 3C.
j.214A is one of the main air combo ender Hakumen has: j.B > j.2A > jc > j.2A > j.C and j.B > j.2A > jc > j.B > j.2A > j.214A. The former is meterless ender that sends the opponent flying across the screen and therefore a return to neutral. The latter provides a knockdown at the cost of a magatama. In the corner, it gets strengthened a little with j.B > j.2A > jc > j.B > j.2A > j.C >j.214A.
- j.214A > Falling j. 2C: The standard j.214A okizeme ender after j.214A, j.2C prevents rolls if done low enough and acts as a safe-jump.
The options after J. 214A are very telegraphed and won't be effective against players with match-up knowledge. Regardless, it remains a decent ender, since there is very little thing that can be done against it.
- 2A > 2B > 623AA > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.B > j.2A > j.214A
- 2A > 2B > 236B > IAD j.2C > 5A > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.B > j.2A > j.214A
6B is overall Hakumen's best okizeme ender. It has more hitstun than 3C and often leaves closer to the opponent. 6B is an excellent corner combo ender and can be easily accessed with 236B and the character specific 5A > j.B2AC > Land > 623AA > 6C > (6A > 6B / 5C) route.
Air hit 6B has 3 more frames of frame advantage than grounded 6B which makes it possible to safejumps more reversals. Air hit 5C has the same frame advantage as ait hit 6B.
- 2B > 214A > 2A > 6A > 6B
- (Corner) 2A > 2B > 236B > IAD j.2A > j.C > 5C > 6A > 6B.
- (Corner) 2A > 2B > 623AA > 6A > 6B > 5A > j.B2AC > Land > 623AA > 6C > 5C
- 6B > 6A(whiff) > 2A: A very solid okizeme, 6A prevents rolls and 2A hits meaty.
- 6B > 9jc > j.A (whiff) > j.2C: Safe-jump, but it loses to rolls
Hakumen possess some of the highest damage output of the roster. In fact, with good combo starter 70~80% are easily achievable. Combined with his Overdrive, punishes can be the best way for Hakumen to turn a match in his favor. It’s important to know when to punish the opponent and what moves to use.
The cornerstone of Haku's punishing game is his overdrive, it's one of the best one in the game. It increases his meter gain meter through the roof and provides further access to his high-damage special in combos for a short period. Haku is also the character who exploits EA at the end of combos the best, since it knockdowns and still deal a high amount of damage with AF. Check the overdrive combo section on Dustloop for more information.
Optimizing OD combos is tricky, as a wide range of routes are available and they heavily depends on the overdrive's length and the amount of magatama available at the start the combo. However, most of the basic routes deal similar damage under the same circumstances.
5C is Hakumen's trademark move. It boasts an amazing proration and hitbox and it's very easy to combo after it. It can be immediately canceled into overdrive as well, but there is a small window to burst between 5C and OD. On CH, it's possible to block the burst and punish it with another 5C.
3C, or to be more accurate 3C CH, is a very effective punish option that leads to high damage combo at a low cost, 3C is faster and has a bit more reach than 5C. However, unlike 5C, 3C can't be cancelled into OD. The main drawbacks of 3C is that it requires a CH to combo and it's easily punishable if it whiffs or if it's blocked.
6C fatal counters and is Hakumen's move with the best proration, but it's more situational since it's fairly slow, requires a CH and doesn't lead to combos if it hits an airborne opponent midscreen. It's main usefulness is to punish an opponent's reversal.
As a last resort, OD + 214214B can be used to turn the tables. Mugen combos are extremely powerful and any stray hit may turn into a touch of death. However, this comes at a great cost. If it fails, Hakumen will be out of resources and most likely lose the round.
For a more detailed explanation about Mugen, check the dedicated Mugen combo section on Dustloop.
Defense is arguably one of the most important aspects of learning Hakumen, his movement is limited and some of his better neutral pokes have a lot recovery, so sometimes the best solution is to just block and wait for a chance to counterattack.
Hakumen’s drive is called Zanshin, it deploys a shield in front of him. If an opponent physical moves hit it, Hakumen will initiate a command grab motion and perform a counter. Each of Hakumen’s counter has different properties and catch different types of moves. However, they all lose to throws and the command grab won’t occur if a projectile is caught. If a move is caught, it’s possible to perform a special move instead of the command grab. That special will be fully invincible for 9 frames. This also works with projectiles, which is very useful against projectile okizeme.
2D is active on the first frame. But this comes at the cost of the move having a lot of recovery if not activated. Newer players will probably struggle using 2D at first, it can be extremely hard to time and doesn’t have as large an active frame window as 5D. However, mastering it and it becomes one of Hakumen’s best tools for disrupting opponent’s pressure due to its speed and catching an opponent’s meaty attempts. It catches lows and mid, but loses to overheads.
Just like 2D, 6D is active on the first frame but catches high instead of lows. Unlike 5D and 2D it blows the opponent away instead of knocking them down. 6D leads to combos in the corner and to safe-jumps midscreen. It's usefulness is further strengthened by the fact that it can be used on reaction to counters overheads. Arguably, Hakumen's best drive.
j.D is an airborne counter and catches lows, highs and mids. This move is used to counter characters with strong air-to-airs and anti-airs. As of CF2, it doesn’t cancel the momentum in mid-air anymore making it much harder to punish.
Yukikaze (236236D) is the distortion-drive counterpart to Zanshin and his Hakumen's strongest defensive option. It's active on the 1st frame and catches highs, mids and lows and lands a strong, 1-hit slash (3200) and can be followed-up into short combos by spending additional meter. On successful catch of a physical move. It's a deadly move as it can be used to end the round without letting the opponent burst and to escape or punish high/low okizeme and mix-ups.
If it catches a projectile, the opponent is not locked in place and can escape it by double-jumping or using a move with a lot of invulnerability or armor. However, Yukikaze is unblockable and safe as long it activates, since Hakumen is invulnerable for the entire animation of the move. As such, this can be used to escape projectile based okizeme and force a return to neutral.
Lastly, a common habit that most new Hakumen players fall into is relying on counters instead of just blocking; They are effective tools, but is not a substitute for good blocking skills. They are vulnerable to throws and the recovery will leave Hakumen punishable. Understanding how and when to use is key; A tool is only as good as its wielder. When and how should they be used then? The correct answer is enough so that they work but not too much to avoid getting punished. Consequently, this will opponent and match-up specific. Some players rely on grabs more often against Hakumen, making his counters harder to use.
There are three main counters to grabs on wake-up with Hakumen: Wake-up OD, TK j.214B and TK j.214C.
TK j.214B benefits from having invulnerability frames and can deal with some okizeme. However, this has a few shortcomings. First, it whiffs if the opponent is crouched and therefore doesn’t work against 2A and 2B. Second, even though j.214B is invincible from frame 1, TK j.214B isn't due to the jump start-up. As such, this loses to meaty.
j.214C is a high-risk, high-reward option. Unlike j.214B it doesn't have any invulnerability. Unlike j.214B, j.214C is a much better starter, deal plenty of damage by itself and even fatal counters. If the opponent decides to block in an attempt to bait a drive but forgets to barrier, j.214C will guard crush leading to a small combo. j.214C works best with 4 magatamas or more to create a mind game with 236236D. Regardless, j.214C is still a very expensive option and highly specific. As such, it should be used as a hard read or after conditioning the opponent.
Sadly, in most instances counters don’t replace a proper reversal and Hakumen lack of invulnerabily on his backdash hurts his defense quite a bit. Consequently, Hakumen relies a lot on Yukikaze to get out of tight situations. Though not specific to Hakumen, in Blazblue, there is an option select to barrier and tech grabs at the same time. This is done by inputting 1ABC or 4ABC. The point of this OS is to tech grabs without risking doing a grab if it was a bait. This has to be done soon before the grab or it will result in a Throw Reject Miss. Be warned, a skilled opponent will varies with timing of his grab to counter it. Still, this is a very useful option select that should be learned. In case of a problem with a character's blockstrings or okizeme, the best thing to do is to save the replays, analyse the situations in question and replicate them in training mode to find their flaws.
Magatama management is at the center of Hakumen's gameplay. It heavily separates low and high level players. A very common mistake with Hakumen is to spend everything as soon as meter as available, this is a terrible habit.
On defense, low level players tend to use 236236D as soon as they have the required meter. This is a terrible habit. This makes Yukikaze very predictable and easy to play around. At higher level, players use the fact that the opponent might be scared of 236236D to either j.214C or fuzzy jump on wake-up.
As far as combos are concerned, beyond 2~3 magatamas the meter invested comes with diminishing return. Using meter sparringly to then unleash a powerful OD combo is often a very effective strategy.
Pressure is also a place where lower players tend to waste meter. Hakumen's pressure is very limited at low ressources and it either recommended to end it fairly quickly with a Throw, a well-spaced 6A/2A or a 6B. Overextending with multiple 214A doesn't come out with a lot of benefit. With more meter, a common temptation is to spend everything. This is also a bad habit as if it's the opponent blocks everything, they will gain a tremendous advantage. Keeping a few resources available is recommended to remain flexible in neutral afterward.
OD management is thus crucial as it's the core of Hakumen's gameplay. Using OD to then benefit from active flow may result in being able to use OD twice per round. This is especially powerful in slow match-ups. Burst is hardly ever used and should be used only to prevent or gain a huge momentum swing. For instance, by cornering a zoner or a character with weak defenses.
Hakumen has several moves which can be punished if block.
- 6B is -4, -7 on IB, but be wary about punishing it as it can be cancelled into a drive.
- 2C is -17 if Haku doesn't have any magatama left, this is an easy punish. With meter, 2C > 214A is gapless.
- 3C is -12 and can't be cancelled into anything. It can be punished by most 5B.
- 214D is -7 on block. It can be punished with most 5A/ 2A. With meter 214D can be cancelled into 214A for a frame trap or 236B for a gapless blockstring.
- Drives are heavily punishable on whiff. To play a around them in pressure, a good strategy is to stop pressure after certain normals where is there is usually a gap and bait the drive. This can lead to powerful CH combos. Dash grab is also a solid and easy option to punish drives.
If the Hakumen is overrely on drives, just wait for them and punish. Grabs are also efficient against them. However, don't overuse them as they lose to TK j.214C or be overdrived through and punished with 5B CH or even 5C CH if timed correctly.
Dealing with Haku's pressure
Haku's pressure revolve around frame traps and late gatlings, it possible to DP between a lot of normals. like between 2A > 2B. Beware that it also means it's very good against fuzzy jumping. A delay 214A or 623AA can easily deal with fuzzy jump attempts.
It is also is very weak against barrier. Keep an eye on his meter and beware of 41236C when it's above 3 magatamas. From afar, Hakumen cannot do any low aside from 623A > 236B.
After blocking 6A, Hakumen's only gatling is 6B. Moreover, using barrier against 6A often pushes Hakumen too far and 6B will whiff. ODc can also be used after 6A to make 6B whiff and punish with either EA or a powerful combo.
Dealing with Haku's okizeme
3C okizeme: Delay or Backdash are often the best idea. Hakumen can catch some backdash with 214A or 623AA but this requires a hard read.
j.214A okizeme: Likewise, wake-up backdash is often the best course of action here. The j.2C > j.214A > Falling meaty j.2C variant loses to forward rolls.
6B okizeme: The strongest okizeme and the hardest to deal with. A standard okizeme 6B > 6A whiff > 2A. 2A hits meaty. Don't delay tech as 6A will blue beat and combo into 6B.
After 3C and 6B if the opponent tries to safejump with j.A (whiff) > j.2C, it is possible to freely roll forward.
Dealing with Haku's neutral
In neutral, Hakumen's stronges tools are 4C and 623AA in most match-ups. 4C hurtbox is fairly large and often lose to well-spaced 2B. Likewise, 623AA, isn't invulerable to moves with foot properties. Low moves with a long reach are thus excellent for dealing with it. (Ie: Jin's 3C, Izanami's 2B...)
There are two ways to handle to handle neutral: Either rush Hakumen down at all time or zone him out. Both methods have benefits and drawbacks.
Rushing Hakumen means he can't generate magatama, if momentum is gained early it can drastically limit chance of making a comeback by limiting the amount of magatama collected. This will however put Hakumen in range to use his drives and potentially reverse momentum.
The other strategy is to zone him out and prevent him from approaching. This can be very effective as Hakumen's mobility is very limited. This strategy can be very effective if the character in question has a solid anti-air and moves with foot properties or that low profiles to deal with 4C and 623AA. Beware of Hakumen's ability to cut projectiles in neutral. Zoning with projectiles often requires playing with their timing correctly to bait sword normals. This strategy has the drawback of giving Hakumen plenty of time to collect magatama and potentially deal high damage combo if the opportunity arises.
Some characters have a easier doing either. For instance, Valkenhayn can easily rush Hakumen down and deal with most of his tools with w.5C. Some characters have an easier time zoning like Rachel and anti-airing him if he tries to approach.
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