BBCF/Hakumen/Strategy

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Hakumen


Overview

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 Glossary Section.


Introduction

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

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 should be to learn the exact range of those pokes to use them properly.

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.

On the negative side, 4C requires a CH to get a combo and it is impossible to combo from a max range 4C. Be careful when using 4C, as it has quite a lot of recovery and a large hurtbox before the active frames. Moreover, 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.

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. Autopiloting 3C and getting punished for that can cost games. Getting rid of such habits may be hard, but are worth it in the long run.

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.


Mobility

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.

To compensate 623AA’s weaknesses, 214D can be relied on. It’s 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 sparringly. 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. If timed correctly j.D will catch and counter any anti-air attempts, this move is hard to punish in CF2, since it no longer cancels Hakumen’s momentum and has no minimum height requirement. 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.

Another approach is to IAD and then using j.A. This 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. This is 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.

Anti-air

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 of them 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.

Air-to-air

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.

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. It can be used if you anticipate that your opponent will airdash and to hit them in the middle of their airdash. And as stated in the mobility section, it also cuts projectiles making it an excellent defensive air-to-air.

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.

Offense

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.

Late gatlings

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.

Okizeme

This section will only cover the basic okizeme options, for more details - check the advanced 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 to get, it can be done after a grounded hit 2A and therefore a common ender for 0 and 1 magatama combos. 3C isn't that great, since it has a lot of recovery and doesn't provide much frame advantage.

Examples:

  • 2A > 2A > 3C
  • 2B > 2A > 3C
  • 2A > 2B > 214A > 2A > 3C.

Okizeme:

  • 3C > Hop 2A/ 2B: 2A can be used as a meaty, but it loses to rolls. 2B has a lot of active frames, so will catch a lot of opponents if they try to roll forward or backward and you can pick them up for an additional combo. This will lose to most reversals and delayed neutral tech.

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.

  • Example: 2A > 2B > 623AA > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.B > j.2A > 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.

6B has more hitstun than 3C and often leaves closer to the opponent, as such more options are available. 6B is a little trickier to get midscreen. It requires hitting with 6A. This is mainly done with 2A > 6A, which is only possible at close range. In the corner, however, it is widely accessible. Routes featuring 236B and j.214B can end with ... j.C > 5C > 6A > 6B.

Examples:

  • 2B > 214A > 2A > 6A > 6B
  • (Corner) 2B > 236B > IAD j.2A > j.C > 5C > 6A > 6B.

Okizeme:

  • 6B > 6A(whiff) > 2A: A very solid okizeme, 6A prevents rolls and 2A hits meaty.
  • 6B > 9jc > j.A (whiff) > j.2C: Another safe-jump, but it loses to rolls.

Punishes

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.

Now let's cover Haku's moves which are used for punishing:

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

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.

5D has 6f startup and can be held to increase its active frames, at the cost of having more recovery. A good move to catch most air approaches. It can also be used to play mind games with the opponent due to it’s longer than average active frame window when held. It catches moves that are high or mid, but it loses to lows.

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.

6B can also be used to crush moves with foot attributes, which includes lows and other moves like 2A/ 3C. On CH, 6B leads to strong combos with little resources. The invulnerability doesn’t start until the 4th frame, so it can’t be used while blocking. But can be useful on wake-up or in neutral.

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

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.

Okizeme

Overview

Blazblue is a game which offers a wide array of options on wake up. On top of the traditionnal fighting games toolbox, such as reversals and mashing, it also provides multiple universal options, like neutral techs with plenty of invulnerability and rolls. Okizeme isn't Haku's field of predilection, he doesn't have any lingering projectile and his knockdowns are average at best. Therefore, he has a hard time covering everything.

Rolls, in particular, are difficult to punish consistently. A setup which beats early rolls may not work against delayed rolls and vice versa. Likewise, back and forward rolls often requires different timings. Back rolls are fully invincible for a longer time, and forward rolls can pass through Hakumen.

Regardless, he still has enough tools at his disposal to cover the most basic needs. Instead of having a big option which covers everything, he has a lot of little options that cover 2~3 possibilities each. As such, anticipating and conditioning the opponent is crucial to make the best of his toolkit. Versatility is key.

Agito

Hakumen two main air combo enders are 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.

  • (second jump) > J.XXX > J. 214A > Falling j.2C > ...

Examples:

  • 5A > 5B > 9jc > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.B > j.2A > J. 214A.
  • 5C > 214A > 2C > 9jc > j.B > j.2AC > jc > j.AA > J. 214A.

The most common okizeme ender after Agito. j.2C blue beats quick or rolls are attempted, if it does it can be followed up with 3C for a knockdown. Neutral tech will make the j.2C whiff, so don't auto-pilot 3C.

If the combo before falling j.2C was very short (Ie: 5A > 5B > Air combo, 2B > 623AA > 5B > Air combo), j.2C > 5A > 5B > Air combo is possible to extend the combo.

Falling j.2C > 2A/ 2B both covers mashing. 2A recovers fast enough to block Izayoi's 62 3C, Azrael's 623B and Nine's 214D.

The timing for the j.2C has to be adjusted slightly depending on the height at which Agito is done. It has to be delayed if the air combo ender started with a high jump.

Even if j.2C whiffs, Hakumen keeps the frame advantage. The lower the J. 214A and the earlier the j.2C, the better.

The main drawback of this okizeme ender is that it loses to most neutral tech backdash on wake-up. 2A > 214A can be done to deal with that.

  • … > 5B > 9hjc > j.B > j.2A > 9jc > j.2C > J. 214A > Falling J. 2A/ j.2C

Examples: 2B > 623AA > 5B > 9hjc > j.B > j.2A > 9jc > j.2C > J. 214A - [video] This variation of the J. 214A combo ender leaves the opponent closer to the ground before Agito.

Unlike the previous ender, If the opponent uses forward roll, J. 2A / j.2C hit raw and lead to a full combo. This variation however doesn’t catch backrolls. After J. 214A, Hakumen will cross-up the opponent except on instant neutral tech. This can catch the opponent off guard if he likes to delay tech.

  • (first jump) > J.XXX > J. 214A > Falling j.2C / Land 2B / AD j.B / Land 6B

Examples: 2B > 623AA > 5B > hjc j.AB 2A > J. 214A The idea with this route is to keep the jump option available to IAD to mix the opponent with AD j.B / Landing 2B. AD j.B loses to all forms of rolls and delay tech so it’s mandatory to condition the opponent with falling j.2C to prevent him from relying on those options. If done low enough, Falling 2B will also cover rolls and delay techs and Falling 6B with forward rolls. This ender can be effective but often comes at the expense of guaranteed damage and isn’t as strong on characters with reversals.

3C

A common combo ender for ground-based 0 and 1 magatama combos. It's vital to learn how to combo into it consistently. Examples:

  • 2A > 2A > 3C
  • 2B > 2A > 3C
  • 2A > 2B > 214A > 2A > 5A > 3C
  • ... > 3C > Hop > 2A:

It beats mashing and early forward roll techs, loses to reversals and backdashes. There is enough time to block slow reversals after 2A such as Izayoi's 62 3C, Azrael's 623B and Nine's 214D.

Hop 2A > 1AB is an option select. It does 2A > 2B if 2A is blocked and 2A > Barrier on whiff. It's useful to bait the reversals mentioned above.

Delay tech can make the 2A whiffs.

  • ... > 3C > (Hop) > 2A > 214A:

214A catches backdashes during their recoveries, the hop is here to adjust the timing and the distance. Some backdashes travel further, but are slower: With the Hop: Azrael, Bang, Arakune. Without the Hop: Nu, Lambda, Mu, Celica, Izayoi normal and GA.

On counter hit, 2A combos into 214A, so it's also useful against emergency tech mashing. If the 2A whiffs due to a delay tech, 214A may loses to a well-timed 5A or 2A.

  • ... > 3C > Hop > 2B:

It covers mashing and early forward and backrolls, loses to reversals, backdashes with 9f of invincibility frames or more (Bang, Azrael, Arakune, Tager...), Izayoi's backdash in GA and delay tech backdashes.

By pressing 2A or 214A quickly after 2B, they will come out if 2B hits or is blocked, but not if it whiffs. This is especially useful to continue the pressure or combo after a backroll: https://youtu.be/1kp3L_vDc1Q

  • ... > 3C > 2B/Delay 2B:

Only works at close range, like after a close range 2B > 2A > 3C. An Instant 2B can lead to a blue beat combo if the opponent doesn't tech or attempt a roll. It's situational, but useful against people who like to delay their techs a lot.

  • ... > 3C > Delay/Walk > 5C:

It beats forward rolls, mashing and make some reversals whiffs if the 5C is done far enough (Jin, Makoto and Mu's 62 3C, Kagura's 28C, Bang's 23623 6A...). It loses to back rolls, backdashes and delay tech.

  • ... > 3C > Delay meaty 214A > 2A:

At close range, 214A beats backrolls and generates massive frame advantage on block on neutral tech. Loses to forward rolls and Delay tech mashing.

  • ... 3C > IAD J. 214A:

Cross-up on a wake-up. It beats early backrolls and makes some reversals whiff (Makoto's 62 3C), but it loses to forward rolls and reversals with hitboxes in the back (Ragna's 62 3C, Jin's 62 3C and 623D, Kagura's 28C...)

6B and 5C > 5C

6B has less recovery and more untechable time than 3C, and it thus provides a better okizeme. Even though 2A > 6A combos on standing in CF, it remains more situational than 3C, since it doesn't work from a far 2A. Examples:

  • Forward Throw > Walk > 6A > 6B
  • (Crouching) 2B > 214A > 2A > 6A > 6B.
  • ... > 6B > Hop > Slight delay/Walk 2B.

It beats early forward rolls and mashing. There is also enough time to block Nine's 214D after 2B. Loses to backdashes and back rolls:

  • ... 6B > 6A(whiff) > ( 6B) > 2A or 2B:

6B > 6A(whiff) is +5 if the opponent was grounded before 6B and +8 if airborne. Both 2A and 2B beat mashing. There is enough time to block slow reversals after 2A like Izayoi's 62 3C, Azrael's 623B and Nine's 214D. If rolls are attempted, 6A will blue beats. By inputting 6B quickly after 6A, it will automatically come out if 6A blue beats, but not if it whiffs: https://youtu.be/KmZn79g8-Gw

  • ... > 6B > 5C(whiff) > 2A or 2B:

Close range only, 2A and 2B whiffs, if done from too far. 6B > 5C(whiff) is +1. In theory, 2A trades with 6-frame pokes and 2B with 7-frame ones. However, due to the distance between both players, most 2A will whiff and 2B will beat them. Depending on the distance, 2A and 2B can also make some with reversal whiffs (Like Azrael's 623B), but it's usually not that good, since it's often possible to backdash and only work at specific ranges. 5C will defeat any roll attempt and 2B also catches rolls after a blue beat 5C. An easy way out is not teching the 5C and air teching after 2B.

  • ... 6B > 669 > j.A / j.B(whiff) > J.1B > [4]:

A cross-up which doubles as a safe-jump, it loses against forward roll, neutral tech 5A, a few AA (Rachel's and Terumi's 6A) and Arakune's 23623 6C. The 669 is a hop-cancel forward jump, it's almost always necessary to do it to gain enough momentum to cross-up with j.B.

6C/5C > 5C

6C/5C > 5C is an alternative ender to 6C/5C > 6A > 6B in the corner. This is primarily done after character specific combos that end with j.C > 623AA > 6C > 6A > 6B, 6A > 6B is often impossible if the combo was too long.

The possible okizeme enders are the same as the airborne 6B and share the same frame advantage. Regardless, if able, ending a combo with 6A > 6B is better as it deals a bit more damage.

5D/ 2D

Since CF2, it’s possible to combo after 2D/ 5D. The parry will almost always grant the meter necessary to combo. Unfortunately, there is no option that covers both forward and backrolls.

  • 5D/ 2D > 2B/Delay 2B:

Instant 2B catches back rolls, but not forward rolls, delay 2B does the opposite. If it catches a back roll, neither 2B > 2A/ 5A will work since the opponent will be too far. 2B > 214A > IAD j.B works, the "conversion" section at the bottom provides possible combos.

  • 5D/ 2D > Delay 5C:

Catches forward rolls, but not back rolls. Since 5C has less active frames than 2B, it's not as good at catching rolls. However, it provides a better reward if it hits, especially if cancelled 5C into OD.

  • 5D/ 2D > 6A > 2A:

Meaty 2A on neutral tech, but it's easy to roll out of it.

6D

Since CF, 6D is a 1 frame counter that sends the opponent across the screen. Comboing after 6D is possible midscreen, however those combos are unreliable and often requires several magatamas.

  • 6D > IAD j.A > j.B:
  • 6D > IAD > j.2C:
  • 6D > hjc IAD > j.A > J. 2A:
  • 6D > 7hjc IAD > j.A > j.2C:

Listed from easiest to hardest.

All of those safe-jumps recover fast enough to block every reversal in this game. They also beat mashing, catch early backrolls, but lose to forward rolls.

It's possible to add a 1A > 1AB after j.B/J. 2A/ j.2C, and still act as a safe-jump: https://youtu.be/X-zswbZjC6k?list=PLrJRxQ7BaNKJY5_LgvdgTO5uYI0_lCU9Q

When back to corner, the J. 2A and j.2C safe-jumps also catch early forward rolls.

Corner

In the corner, Haku's okizeme grows stronger than ever. Most of his corner combo can end with air-hit 6B, which has 3 more frames of frame advantage than grounded 6B.

214A/ 5C > 6A > 6B Example:

  • 2B > 23 6B > 7jc > AD > J. 2A > j.C > 5C > 6A > 6B.
  • ... 214A/ 5C > 6A > 6B > 5C(whiff) > 2A/ 2B:

6B > 5C(whiff) is +4. 2A and 2B will beat mashing, and 5C will defeat any roll attempt. There is enough time to block slow reversals after 2A like Izayoi's 62 3C, Azrael's 623B and Nine's 214D.

Like midscreen, 5C will defeat any roll attempt and 2B will catch rolls after a blue beat 5C. If 5C isn’t teched, it’s better to do another 5C than going for 2B. It will provide additional damage and prevent them from easily getting out of the corner if 2B isn’t teched.

If 2A is blocked and not barriered, 2A > Purple Throw is possible, but not 2A > Delay Throw.

  • ... 214A/ 5C > 6A > 6B > 6A(whiff) > 2A/ 2B/ 5B:

6B > 6A(whiff) is +8. 2A, 2B and 5B all cover mashing. They all lose to well timed delay techs 5A/ 2A.

Like midscreen, it's possible to quickly input 6B after 6A to get 6A > 6B knockdown if they don’t tech.

After 2A, it's possible to block 13-frame or slower reversals (Like Jin's 62 3C and 623D, Mu's 62 3C...) or go for a 2A > Delay Throw. In CF, 5B can be cancelled into 2B or 6B for a mix-up.

  • 214A/ 5C > 6A > 6B > 9jc > j.A > J.1C > Hold 1 > 1A:

Corner 9-frame safe jump, loses to forward rolls and long delay techs 2A that make the 2A whiffs: https://youtu.be/zGG9Ust2ufc

If the opponent tech immediately, he will have to block the j.2C and if he mashes, j.2C will counter hit. If the j.2C whiffs and the 2A is blocked, it's possible to go for a grab after 2A.

Conversions

If 2A catches a roll

  • (0) 2A > 5A > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > J. 2A > j.C (1587, 0.6)
  • (2) 2A > 5A > 5B > TK j.214B > IAD j.2C > 6A > 6B > 5A > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.2A > j.C (2820, 1.2)

If 2B catches a roll

Midscreen

  • (1) 2B > 5A > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.2A > j.C (1938, 0.8)
  • (3) 2B > 5A > j.B > J. 2A > j.214B > AD j.2C > 6A > 6B > 5A > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.2A > j.C (3148, 1.3)

Only work at close range.

  • (2) 2B > 214A > IAD j.B > J. 2A > 5C > 5C > 623AA > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.2A > j.C (3352, 1.2)
  • (2) 2B > 214A > IAD j.B > J. 2A > 5C > 623A > 6A > 6B > 5A > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.2A > j.C (3397, 1.3)
  • (3) 2B > 214A > IAD j.B > J. 2A > j.214B > AD > j.2C > 6A > 6B > 5A > 5B > j.B > j.2A > jc > j.2A > j.C (3816, 1.2)

Midscreen to corner

  • (1) 2B > 214A > IAD j.B > J. 2A > 5C > 6A > 6B (2621, 1.0)
  • (2) 2B > 214A > IAD j.B > J. 2A > 5C > 5C > 214A > 6A > 6B (2971, 1.2)
  • (3) 2B > 214A > IAD j.B > J. 2A > j.214B > AD > j.C > 6C(level 2) > 6A > 6B (3508, 1.1)

Corner

  • (2) 2B > 5A > 5B > TK J.21B > AD > j.C > 6C(level 2) > 6A > 6B (2874, 0.8)

2B > 5A > 6A > 6B is also possible, but less reliable.

Anti-slow reversal techs

  • j.2C > 2A > Block
  • 3C > Hop > 2A > Block
  • 6B > 6A(whiff) > ( 6B) > 2A > Block
  • 6B > Hop > Slight delay/Walk 2B > Block
  • 214A/ 5C > 6A > 6B > 5C(whiff) > 2A > Block

Fighting Hakumen

Punishing Hakumen

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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