BBCF/Hazama/Strategy

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Hazama


Introduction

Hazama is a rather interesting member of the BlazBlue cast. At first, he doesn't appear all that threatening, having stubby normals, little defensive options, and a heavy reliance on a resource for movement. However, if one goes and expects an easy win, they couldn't be more wrong. Hazama carries a powerful array of tools at his disposal to confuse and destroy the opponent, from his amazing normals to his variety of useful specials. Good damage and/or corner carry can be attained from virtually any good hit that is taken advantage of. His Overdrive is by far one of the best in the game, giving him the ability to life drain, a fast and fully invulnerable reversal, and heavily strengthening his chains.

Hazama is an open character that can be played by anybody. He has many different tools and tricks to facilitate different playstyles. With his Ouroboros Drive and follow-ups, Hazama can move across the stage for keep-away, go about zoning and keep the opponent at bay, or use it to approach and pressure an opponent.

Special thanks to the authors of Bible of the Blessed Snek: Hazama (BB-CF2).

Neutral

When partaking in neutral, there is no default way to play neutral with Hazama because of his Drive’s versatility. During neutral, Hazama will need to control the pace of the match with Ouroboros whether through zoning out the opponent, quickly approaching them, or playing keep away. The first thing Hazama players will need to know when approaching neutral is understanding how his chains work, along with adapting to what the opponent does.

Chains and Their Followups

Through Ouroboros, Hazama is able to cover many angles around himself to restrict the opponent. In general:

  • 5D, J.6D, J.4D, and a low altitude J.5D restrict an opponent’s ground movement;
  • 4D, 6D, J.5D, and J.8D limit an aerial opponent.

But just by using chains, Hazama commits himself to that option. What he is able to afterward is to use one of the four Drive follow-ups, special cancel it, wait for it to recoil back to him. Each has its pros and cons, so you must have a reason for using each.

Using a Drive Follow-up

This uses a stock but is able to be done when a chain whiffs, hits or is blocked. Each follow-up grants Hazama a strong option in either movement or space control. The A follow-up is useful for the latter option. The B follow-up provides an evasive move to avoid anti-airs and other moves. The C follow-up is good for sudden approaches, especially if the opponent is expecting the usual D follow-up. Lastly, the D follow-up is Hazama’s primary method of moving, being able to zoom to all over the stage, along with approaching an opponent.

Special Cancelling

This can only be done when chains land a hit or are blocked, but the action does not use up a stock. By doing this, Hazama can use a different move to react to what the opponent does. A notable example is canceling a blocked air chain into Jameijin (J.214B) in order to bait out an anti-air. If the bait works, Hazama can use 5D upon landing to hit the recovering opponent.

Letting it Recover

Perhaps the riskiest choice, due to the large amount of recovery that Drive moves hold. While this does not use up a chain stock, Hazama is left vulnerable if a chain whiffs or the opponent blocks at a close enough range. This option should be used very sparingly, and only if you are completely comfortable in the belief that the opponent will not rush you down while you are recovering. You will be vulnerable for significantly longer than you would be if you simply recall the chain, making calculated use of this option absolutely necessary.

Also bring to mind that without stocks Hazama cannot use any of his follow-ups (although he can still special cancel blocked chains), which significantly limits his mobility and forces him to have to recover if the chain whiffs. Because of this, keeping an eye on Hazama's stocks is essential for his neutral. Players must also make sure to not stick to using only one tool for his neutral, because each option can be bested if the opponent is diligent.

Movements without Chain

Compared to Ouroboros’ options, Hazama's universal movement options are lacking. His airdashes are short-ranged but move rather quickly. His walk and dash speed are decent, but having a step-dash, instead of a regular dash, limits him in rushing down an opponent. However, note that he still has usage of Dash Brake, letting him be able to move quickly and safely. A Hazama player should also get used to Super-jumping and Air Barrier Blocking. And like using chains, the player shouldn’t become predictable while using these mechanics.

Poking

Due to Hazama's lack of mid-range non-Drive normals, he doesn't have much to use in poking. A player’s main options in non-Drive poking normals are 2B and 3C, each having pros and cons. While both shrink Hazama’s overall hurtbox and 3C lacks a big hurtbox under its hitbox, 2B is faster and has much less recovery. However, landing a 3C can bring much more reward than 2B, especially if you happen to land a Counter Hit.

Common Chain Options

For neutral movement, popular options include:

  • j.5D
  • j.6D
  • j.4DD (superdash)

It's critical to mix up approaches. If you only use 5DD > j.B to approach, you will get very predictable and will eat an anti-air every time. Please note that many of the followups listed below apply to Hazama's other chains in some fashion. Hazama's chains are one of the most flexible parts of his kit, so don't be afraid to get creative and try entirely different followups.

No Stock Options

If the chain hits:

  • No Cancel: Leaves you with the least frame advantage, but works on whiff and doesn't spend a stock. Useful against opponents who can't punish this at long range.
  • 214D~D: On a blocked chain, you can perform a stance cancel (cancel into stance and then end stance) to shorten the recovery time. This does not cost any stocks. In the air, you can opt for j.214B instead.

If the chain whiffs, then good luck to you. You should wait before checking the stock count.

1 Stock Options

5D can be replaced by other chains. Below are some examples; again, Hazama's chains are one of the most flexible parts of his kit, so don't be afraid to get creative and try entirely different followups.

  • 5D~A : A standard response to an opponent blocking 5D.
You can also do it on whiff to make your opponent nervous. Costs a stock, but in certain matchups you can wait and build back stocks before trying again.
  • 5D~D > whiff j.214B cancels the approach and returns to Neutral. This can bait large anti-airs like your own 2C and responds with your poke, though it is not the best option.
It will do nothing against less risky anti-airs, and they can respond.
  • 5D~D > j.B: A standard approach. Loses to all anti-airs, should they time it well.
You should try to hit them on the tip of your foot to minimize the risk.
  • 5D~D > Air Throw: If they try to jump after your chain hits, you can throw them. This is useful for opponent who chicken blocks a lot.
  • 5D~D > j.2C (hit/whiff): A pretty good high/low guess and can block immediately after landing.
    • An earlier j.2C gives whiff which can be followed by 3C for a low, or punish any anti-air. If whiffed, this will lose to jump attacks that has large enough hitbox, such as Ragna's j.C.
    • A later j.2C is a high. Loses to most anti-airs, as usual.
    • On j.2C hit, can jump cancel to j.4D, which can caught opponents off guard and start a combo.
They can use 5A~1 to button check and mitigate the risk.
  • 5D~D > j.A (hit/whiff): Not as good as j.2C as a high, but it is faster and relatively safer.
  • 5D~B: A built-in anti-air bait. You can mostly replace the D followup ideas with 5D~B and they'll still work. Remember that you have to wait longer before cancelling into an air normal than the other followups.
  • 5D~C: Sideswap, can bait certain anti-airs or a mistimed ones. Since it positions you high, most casts cannot do sideswap OS (1AB) to punish this move.
Characters with 6A as anti-air however (Ragna, for example), will be able to punish at all times using 4AB.

In general, all the options above will not win against 5A, or a jump away j.A.

2 Stock Options

Committing 2 Stocks is a big gamble as if noting is done, you will lose chains for the following 150F until you can move again. Corresponding, these options are far greater and flexible:

  • j.5D~D > j.6D. This is your first example that can bait out all anti-airs after the first j.5D~D. They can jump away of course, but:
  • j.5D~D > j.4DD > Air Throw > 5/2A is another scary option. Jump aways will be caught, and if Air Throw misses, 5/2A will come out.
    • If j.4D~D (non-superdash) is used, Air Throw will become landing Throw.

If they read your mind, of course they can anti-air or 5/2A your second chain. But then you can use all options above to do a second round of guessing, for example to use B-follow-up to bait the second anti-air.

Offense

Pressure

Hazama's pressure, for the most part, is structured around his normals. As of CF, his pressure is less focused on his stance due to being unable to use uncharged versions from 214D. 236C is also a strong option. Though it may not lead to much damage, it's unreactable and encourages your opponent to try and jump. 5B, 2B, 6A/6B are great buttons for pressure. 5B is +2 on block, so you can microdash it to reset pressure and call out mashes. 2B is a solid low, and 6A is a strong overhead that combos into Hotenjin (236236B). 6B is also a great button to throw in the mix. It naturally staggers, hits low, and is +1 on block. If opponents actively use Barrier and Instant Barrier, 3C is a good option to hit if your opponent believes you'll end pressure earlier.

Stance is not as strong in Hazama's pressure, but against conditioned opponents it has its use. It starts RPS between 214D~A and 214~C, and it gives him access to his command grab super. A common way to enter stance up close is to use 214B. Although Hazama doesn't get strong damage off of the unenhanced A and C followups, he still exerts solid pressure. The C followup is also great because it will still beat out or clash with most reversals. Lastly, Hazama can use his command grab super from stance. This option is less popular because most people will fuzzy jump once they see stance, but it can catch people off guard.

Meter management

Meter usage varies by character and even more by players. Hazama has many good ways to spend meter, so you'll have to weigh your options when making a decision. Here are some of the major ways you might spend meter.

  • Crush Trigger: Used in combos (after 3C) where a kill is needed but not enough meter is available for Houtenjin/Rekkazan. Hazama does have sufficient tools to open the opponent up, so he don't need to use this to guard break, but it may catch an opponent by surprise.
  • Jayoku Houtenjin (236236B): Combo filler. In OD, a situational reversal.
  • Mizuchi Rekkazan (632146C): Combo ender, or a situational callout tool to close a round.
  • Orochi Burensou: Fast command grab frequently used to kill or assert pressure from stance
  • Counter Assault: A great option to create space and end someone's pressure. One of Hazama's few defensive tools outside of Overdrive.
  • Rapid Cancels: Just like any other character, Hazama uses RC to make himself safe, bait bursts, extend combos in tricky situations, or create new mixups.

Blockstrings

Frame traps

While tiny frame traps are not the most useful in BB considering IB and barrier will fluctuate the frame data, it is still good to know your options.

Cancel traps
Frames Strings Note
0 frame 2B > 2C
1 frame 2B > 3C Gapless under Barrier.
2 frames
  • 2A/5A > 2C
  • 5C > 6C
  • 2B > 236A
  • 2B > 214B
3 frames
  • 5A > 3C
  • 5C > 6C
  • 5D > 214B (close range)
  • 5D > 236A (close range)
Trade with some of the casts' abares under IB. Although 3C CH and 6C CH probably is a death sentence for them.
Will catch jump startup of all casts provided that they don't IB.
4 frames
  • 2A/5A > 214B
  • 2A/5A > 236A
5 frames 5A > 5D
Non-Cancel traps
4 frames 5B, 2A Can be barrier out so 2A can't connect unless point blank, but that adds 1f blockstun so you can dash back.
5 frames 6B, 2A
6 frames 5B, 5B
7 frames 2B, 2A

String

Most of Hazama's blockstrings end in either 3C > 236A, 5B, 6C, or 214B~44. A general idea of these strings are:

  • 3C > 236A is a common blockstring ender because it pushes Hazama away from his opponent so they can' counterattack.
  • Some opponents like to mash, in which case (665B)*n may be more useful.
  • Others may rely on barrier, in which case 3C > 236A reach may be useful.
  • If you want to focus more on resetting pressure and baiting a response from an opponent, 5B is your best friend. 5B's a common pressure reset because it's very fast and +2 on block. You can use these plus frames to make opponents anxious, and then start slipping in staggers to catch mash attempts.
  • 2A > 5B > 3C > 236A

A common pressure string to space out an opponent far enough for Hazama to safely reset to neutral.

  • 2A > 5B > 5C > 5D > :
    • 5D~D > j.A. Using 5DD into jump allows you to continue pressuring, although it can't hit crouching and loses to mashing. So you would mix with:
    • (dl).214A. This resets to neutral, but can caught mashing, and on CH Jabaki can lead to good damage.
    • 5D~D > j.2C is a sideswap high and hits crouching (of course it can be mashed out). With j.4D this leads to good damage also.
    • 5D~A is also an option if you want to bait DP or OD.
  • 2A > 5B > 5C > 6C

Another common pressure string to space out opponents. 5C > 6C is also a frame trap that will call out mash attempts.

  • 2A > 2B > 214B~

214B is a solid special to end pressure on because it leaves you in stance, and you can use uncharged followups. Below is a comparison between the stance follow-ups:

Option Wins to: Loses to:
A (Ressenga) Low, Throw 5A, Reversal
B (Gashoukyaku) Mashing Blocking, Reversal
C (Zaneiga) Ground Attack, Reversal (situational) Jumping, Throw*, 2A*
44C (backdash Zaneiga) Standings, Throw, Reversal (situational) Low, Jumping
D Reversals (you lose pressure)
632146D (Burensou) Standings, Throw Jumping, Reversals
  • * means that you lose only if 214B is Instant Blocked.
  • Only standard throws are considered here.

Below is a list of the reversals that Zaniega doesn’t beat:

  • Susano’o’s Towering Flame (623C)
  • Litchi’s Tsubame Gaeshi (623D[M])
  • Nine’s Flax Nurture (214D)
  • Nu 13’s True Impreza (ABCD during OD)

Mixup

Simple Tick throw setup


2A, (dash) Throw
2A > 2C
2A > 2B

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Okizeme

There are several options when it comes to Okizeme:

  • 2A is you safest bet. It doesn't do anything fancy, but it ensures that your pressure is there.
  • dash 2B. With dash this catches the back roll, while without it catches the front roll.
  • IAD j.2C

This is Hazama's safejump. You can call out rolls with it at midscreen, but they can block. Mostly used after 214B~C; note that you should adjust your distance by using either 66C or 44C, to maximize the chance that j.2C will catch both rolls.

  • 214B

This is a great way to call out rolls and quick rise in the corner. Leaves you in stance for followup combos or mixups.

  • 4D~C

This can be used after a close knockdown such as Jameijin. This serves as a sideswap mix depend on your distance from the opponent, close distance will result in sideswap while further will stay at the same side.

This oki can be faked out with 4D~A, which can be used to open your opponent up with a low from the front. Loses to rolls.

Defense

Hazama has no resource-less reversal moves, so his best option on Defense is to simply block. IBs and IBBs are extremely useful for pushing out an opponent. Hazama's counter assault is also a useful defensive tool. You can use it to get people off of you and then use chains to navigate back to neutral, or potentially set up stance.

Here are Hazama's reversal options:

  • EA (ABCD in OD, 1~22 All) is the second most reliable reversal option, and is the only reversal that does not rely on meter. But most of the time you will save it and instead use...
  • Houtenjin (236236B, 1~4 All in OD): More or less only sees use as a reversal in OD. Houtenjin has several benefits over Hazama's EA. The hitbox is massive, and you can followup afterwards. Unfortunately, it costs meter, and it's much less safe. You can use this to disrespect some pressure strings. Guard cancel OD into Houtenjin can punish any move within 24F, which is enough for most specials and big normals.

While it isn't a reversal, Counter Assault is also a popular defensive option. The hitbox on it is solid and it usually ends an opponent's pressure outright. However, it is important to not be predictable with counter assault. Like many other counter assaults, it can be baited with a jump cancel, or by the opponent poking and simply blocking afterwards. Watch for jump cancellable normals and ways your opponent likes to reset pressure.

Finally, another non-reversal but useful-as-a-reversal move is 632146D~D. It is very situational, but can caught opponent off guard.


Tips and Tricks

  • Keep track of your stocks and your position. Getting caught up close without stocks is dangerous because of your limited movement.
    • Hitting an opponent in a chain's deadzone is generally a waste
  • You can use j.8D~D > j.4D~D to fling yourself out of the corner and reset to neutral. It'll fling you out of range of most characters.
    • If you don't have two stocks, you can use super jump > j.8D~B to escape some positions instead. It's slower, but about as effective.
  • Hazama's Overdrive is extremely powerful. Consider using burst less and leaning into Overdrive more.
  • Don't jump in every time with chains. Instead, you can stay in the same position or jump around your opponent to reposition.
  • You can use 214B~66B to catch fuzzy jumps
  • 214D~C beats most reversals.

Fighting Hazama

  • Once Hazama has used up his chains, it's your time to approach! Without chains, Hazama's mobility is very limited. Additionally, he needs to stand on the ground for at least 3 seconds to recover stocks.
  • Hazama's defensive options are lackluster. Once you're in, he's usually forced to rely on system mechanics.
  • If you see stance, you can fuzzy jump and barrier to deal with most stance followups. If you air IB, you may be able to j.A any followups after the stance followup.
  • Instant Barrier is a strong option against Hazama's 5B. It will push him out while making it 0 on block.
  • Try using less committal anti-airs like most 5As. It'll beat out some approaches and still give you time to watch Hazama in case he changes his movement.
  • Try experimenting at playing outside 5B range, and inside his 3C and 236A range. Hazama struggles against characters with strong buttons at this spacing.

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