Anji is a character who gets lots of mileage out of being able to call out the opponent, generally starting out by playing mostly reactively, then taking more initiative once the Anji player has a better idea of the opponent's habits in neutral and on defense.
Once you have developed an understanding of your opponent's habits, you can begin to take initiative and start taking risks to call the opponent out on their habits. Start using things like your autoguard specials to try punishing the opponent's poke attempts or to gain ground, or make use of your long airdash to take the opponent off guard when approaching.
At closer ranges, 5K, 2D, and f.S are major players for Anji. 5K is a low risk, low reward poke that is effective at stopping reckless grounded approaches, with 2D and 6H gatlings that provide opportunities for Anji to begin pressuring the opponent. Anji will generally want to position himself just outside of the range of this move, giving himself time to react to and stuff a sudden approach, while still being able to fish for counterhits and whiff punish with 2D and f.S, the latter of which always combos into Fuujin on grounded counterhit.
Should Anji wish to take initiative against a passive opponent at this range, he can use 6H as a relatively safe gap closer to start pressure, or kara Issokutobi (236H~K) into throw or 2K > 2D for a riskier but more rewarding callout.
At further ranges, Anji can make use of his autoguard spins to help him get in by threatening a variety of options that are difficult to respect all at once. His ideal positioning in these situations is around maximum held Fuujin (236[H]) range, from which he can do short, empty 236Ks to establish presence outside the opponent's threat range. By gradually introducing longer spins and pre-emptive cover options like held kara Shin: Ichishiki (236[H]~P), Anji can take note of how the opponent reacts and gauge opportunity for subsequent approaches:
- if the opponent acts defensively, Anji can start to claim more space towards the opponent;
- if they try to approach aggressively, he can go back to doing shorter spins and stuff approaches with, for example, 5K;
- if they take to the air, he can control that space with held Kou (236[S]);
- if they're acting too passive overall, a held Fuujin or kara followup should keep them on their toes.
Kara Nagiha (236H~S) in particular is a solid approaching option because of its long range and safety, allowing Anji to get back in near the opponent and granting him an advantageous situation if it hits. Kara Rin (236H~H) is also on the table if the opponent starts pre-emptively blocking low and is a remarkably better mixup than it is out of regular Fuujin. The key here is that the autoguard spins on the held versions of Fuujin and Kou are initially indistinguishable from 236K, so the opponent needs to make a decision as to which option(s) they actually want to respect. Alternatively, if the opponent is giving Anji a lot of leeway, he can use Shitsu (236P) to cover him as he approaches.
Anji is generally a very grounded character, and it's important for him to keep the opponent on the ground as well so he can safely use options like 2D, f.S, and Fuujin followups. Kou, 6P, j.D, and even his airthrow are great tools to dissuade the opponent from hanging out in the air, which is very important against characters like Ramlethal, Millia, and May that love to jump. Once the opponent becomes more hesitant to leave the ground against Anji, he can begin pestering them with kara Shin: Ichishiki (236H~P) to begin pressure situations.
- Anji's safest bet against an unknown opponent will likely be a defensive option, i.e. a backdash or jump back.
- 2K (frame 7) is Anji's quickest round start button, and can gatling into 2D for a knockdown. Beats May's S dolphin and Sol f.S, for example.
- 5K (frame 8) is a frame slower and hits some moves that 2K can't, such as Giovanna 5H (can 2D after) and Ramlethal f.S.
- 6P (frame 10) is a strong counterpoke against moves like Leo 2D and Nagoriyuki f.S, but has more recovery. Launches the opponent towards the corner and can be followed up with Fuujin (236H) → Issokutobi (K) to close the gap.
- f.S (frame 12) is a decent proactive option that will counterhit long but slow pokes (e.g. Nagoriyuki 5H) and combo into Fuujin.
- Autoguard is also an option, albeit a very risky one, to get a bigger punish against most frame ≥10 buttons. Use sparingly or not at all.
Anji's pressure revolves around the threat of his throw and his massively damaging counterhit starters, allowing him to get away with resetting pressure whilst being minus 8 or more on block. Anji has massive cancel windows on the majority of his gatlings, and almost any hit he can land will lead to potentially incredible meterless damage depending on positioning, making his staggers very scary to defend against. Another big aspect of Anji's pressure is what he does at around max Fuujin range; at this range, Anji can mix in a held 236H and a 236K, since the difference between the latter half of the attack's animation isn't easy to discern if at all. Thanks to the fear of Fuujin, you can get away with doing an empty 236K and reset pressure or even run up and grab if the opponent is giving you a lot of respect. Once the opponent is no longer inclined to respect 236K, they will either mash, run up and grab, or jump, which all can be answered in their own way. If the opponent mashes or tries to run up throw, you can do uncharged/half charged Fuujin and land a counterhit. If the opponent jumps you can answer with Kou, which either gives you a combo leading to hard knockdown or will place you back at point blank to continue pressure.
Fuujin, the Good and Bad
|This section was written before Ver 1.09 and is subject to change.|
Fuujin is a defining part of Anji's gameplay that has been a famous part of his character since his inception, and unlike how it was in Slash through +R, it is (thankfully) not the memeworthy special move it once was, as the move's followups cannot be used on whiff and it's startup is not invincible. That is not to say that Fuujin is worthless however as it has a good balance of pros and cons that one must be aware of to use effectively.
Pros of Fuujin:
- Fuujin is a very quick burst movement option for Anji, allowing him to catch the opponent off guard in midrange or when expecting a different autoguard special
- Fuujin's hitbox is deceptively long, allowing Anji to threaten a decently long ways away from him on the ground
- Very rewarding on counterhit, especially when charged, where it is one of his best starters. Frametrapping or counterpoking with this special or will make the opponent think twice about pressing something
- Charging Fuujin adds an autoguard twirl to the startup, allowing opponents attacking in anticipation of Anji gaining ground to get punished and/or put into a defensive position
- Low risk when properly spaced on block, as Nagiha and Shin: Ichishiki are near impossible to punish meaningfully by the mass majority of the cast
Cons of Fuujin:
- Fuujin and its followups are susceptible to airborne opponents, as the positioning of the hitboxes of these attacks are all fairly low to the ground. If the opponent does a jumping button and you do Fuujin, they will almost always win or put you on the backfoot most of the time
- There is a small window on charged Fuujin where Anji is vulnerable in between the autoguard and the actual attack, meaning the move can easily be stuffed if you're unlucky
- Downright awful when spaced too close to the opponent without 50 meter, pretty much any followup you do can be beaten easily thanks to your close proximity in a variety of ways
- Reward on normal hit is underwhelming at best, save for the charged version (unlikely) or when you have 50 meter
Fuujin "Mixup": Fuujin has a variety of followups that you can use on block or hit, allowing for an extra level of versatility. All of the followups are punishable in their own way (given the circumstances), but attempting to play around and punish one followup can make them susceptible to the others, this is the secret behind Fuujin's "mixups" as you entice the opponent into punishing a specific followup while you punish that expectation with a different followup. Because of how conditioning heavy the followups of Fuujin are in order to function, it doesn't really count as a mixup and is more of an RPS situation that you end your pressure with. The followups and the mindgames behind them are like so:
Nagiha: Fuujin's guessing game primarily revolves around Nagiha (S after Fuujin). Nagiha is the safest followup Anji has at his disposal after Fuujin and hits low, it is minus 7, meaning that he is essentially safe thanks to the move's high pushback unless spaced badly. There is a wide cancel window on Fuujin, meaning that you can delay Nagiha for frametraps and catching jump startup, granting you at worst a soft knockdown, which leads to a repeat of the Fuujin situation. Once the opponent has started to block Nagiha to let your pressure end or is trying to punish Nagiha by instant blocking, you can move on to using the other followups.
Shin: Ichishiki: Once you've conditioned the opponent to respect and play around Nagiha, you can now more safely use Fuujin's other followups. The next safest option you have access to is Shin: Ichishiki (P after Fuujin), which will reward you with plus frames if the opponent blocks it, allowing you to throw out a f.S or 5K to stuff an attempt to poke out from the opponent and continue pressure. Midscreen this followup is weaker as it's hitbox is narrow and following up after the move is inconsistent. The point of using this move is primarily to pester the opponent into trying to jump up and either punish you or escape the situation. Once they start to do so, you can return to using Nagiha to stop this behaviour. When the opponent shows that they don't wish to participate in the RPS between punishing Nagiha and Shin: Ichishiki by continuing to block is where the other two followups can come into play.
Issokutobi: So what do you do when the opponent is just downbacking? This is where Issokutobi (K after Fuujin) comes into play. Issokutobi moves you directly next to the opponent, allowing you to land a grab and go into butterfly oki. This followup is where you can start to put yourself at some serious risk, since if the opponent is looking out for this followup, they are able to punish you on reaction. This move is a prime example of what the Fuujin mindgame is about, as while this move is technically reactable, it is not reactable enough to punish every time unless the opponent is looking out for it specifically, which allows you to get away with all of the other possible options. Using this when you think the opponent isn't prepared for it is essential to keeping the opponent on their toes and opening themselves to the other followups.
Rin: While not useless, Rin (H after Fuujin) is certanly the followup you should abstain from using the most. It is a reactable, very unsafe on block and whiff overhead that loses to mashing and even sometimes jumping. Rin should only be used as a surprise tactic to call out people downbacking and looking out for Issokutobi a little too much, along with calling out backdashes. Make sure to use this sparingly, as it will work rarely against people who know what their doing if you abuse it.
Nothing: Sometimes when you have conditioned the opponent well enough with your Fuujin followups, it is possible to get away with not using a followup at all and resetting pressure from there, even though Fuujin is minus 16 on it's own! Make sure to use this especially against opponents who can react to both Issokutobi and Rin simultaneously, since they'll be expecting delays and other tricks. Usually when this happens, it can signal to your opponent that they are being too patient with you and can persuade them to be more aggressive, therefore allowing you to try frametrapping with Nagiha again, or shift the opponent's focus off of your other options.
REMINDER THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER RELY ON FUUJIN TO OPEN THE OPPONENT UP. WHILE FUUJIN IS IMPORTANT THINK OF IT MORE AS A PRESSURE ENDING RPS AND NOT A MIXUP.
Anji thrives off of hard knockdowns, which he gets primarily using 2D, throw, and Kou (236S). Because Kou leaves Anji airborne, he can also choose to forgo oki and airdash > j.H OTG for a bit of guaranteed damage.
Shitsu (236P) provides perhaps the safest way for Anji to continue putting the opponent on the defensive after a hard knockdown. The projectile will travel about halfscreen, and if it comes into contact with the opponent, it will pop up and dive back down for a second hit.
Anji usually has enough time after a hard knockdown to use Shitsu but needs to make sure he is spaced properly so that the butterfly meaties the opponent right as they get up. If he's too close, Anji is prone to getting hit by a reversal or whiffing the butterfly altogether; if he's too far, the opponent will have time to jump or otherwise avoid the butterfly. When positioned properly, the opponent is put in a position where they essentially have to block the butterfly on wakeup, triggering the pressure of the imminent second hit. Anji can continue his typical blockstring pressure from here, but throw mixups are also effective if timed properly around the projectile blockstun.
Anji can spend meter on a Blue or Purple RC to turn his regular Shitsu oki into a more complicated situation for the opponent by allowing him to apply additional pressure much earlier in the projectile's lifespan.
- A PRC left/right mixup using j.D: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEAu8KM0p4s
- A PRC setup that baits and punishes invincible reversals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vm5JuFKpXo
If Anji is too close to use Shitsu comfortably, he can also just hit the grounded opponent with Fuujin (236H) → Issokutobi (K). The hop will place him directly next to the opponent, from which point an immediate c.S or 5K will meaty.
Corner throw > 2H OTG
If Anji manages to land a throw in the corner, he can do 2H OTG > 236K into a variety of options to initiate repeated RPS situations that tend to skew in his favor. Correct reads will allow Anji to throw again (continuing the loops) or cash out for a wallbreak combo. Even some “losing” situations result in a neutral outcome where Anji can still transition into regular corner pressure. Video by Klaige explaining this setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLTnS0NWTQA
The guessing game ends up working something like this:
- Anji simply throws them again after the spin.
- Wins against: hesitation, blocking, throwable reversals, slow buttons.
- Loses to: fast buttons, throw techs, command throws, jumping.
- Not a bad first option to try to catch a fresh opponent off guard and make them realize they have to do something.
- Anji holds back after the spin to block.
- Wins against: laggy buttons, attempted throw techs, reversals.
- Loses to: nothing really; even if the opponent doesn't do something punishable, Anji is usually still in a position for regular corner pressure.
- An easy, low-risk option that can punish opponents who are trigger-happy with their reversals or throw techs. A good bet if you're unsure what the opponent will do and don't want to risk guessing.
- Anji presses meaty(?) c.S after the spin.
- Wins against: most buttons, attempted throw techs, jumping without blocking.
- Loses to: reversals.
- Anji does Kachoufuugetsu (632146S) after the spin.
- Wins against: pretty much any button.
- Loses to: anything that isn't a button.
- A very big callout that does good damage and wallbreaks with hard knockdown.
- Anji holds the spin for the full duration (i.e. does 236[K] instead).
- Wins against: fast buttons.
- Loses to: throws, jumping, slow buttons.
The opponent should eventually figure out that upbacking is the least dangerous option for them, at which point Anji can actually try to airthrow them into Fuujin OTG. 2S OTG > spin after airthrow is an option to try to extend the loops, but Anji can be thrown while spinning because of the difference in spacing. If the opponent decides to try to match Anji's airthrow, he can go back to using c.S after spin, which will grant him a counterhit and easy wallbreak combo. Alternatively, Anji can replace the 236K with held Kou (236[S]) as a compromise that still allows him to continue corner pressure with landing j.S if the opponent doesn't end up jumping.
After throwing, Kou (236S) > j.S is an easy safejump setup. If the opponent uses an invincible reversal, the j.S will whiff, allowing Anji to block immediately upon landing and punish. Otherwise, it will meaty the opponent's wakeup and allow Anji to continue on the offensive.
Anji can sometimes struggle to force his way out of defensive situations, largely due to his frame 6 5P/2P and lack of meterless reversal. Most notably, this makes it difficult to mash out of tick throws and other mixups, forcing him to use other options (e.g. backdash or jump) uncomfortably often. Staying patient while blocking is crucial to avoid getting blown up off of a counterhit and to eventually reset back to neutral.
When Anji has 50% meter, however, it's an entirely different story. Kachoufuugetsu (632146S) is a frame 1 counter reversal, and an opponent who swings into the active window will find themselves put into a blender cutscene, allowing Anji to get them off his back and deal a good chunk of damage. Also, because it's a counter instead of a plain invincible reversal, it will beat safejump setups.
However, Kachoufuugetsu has its fair share of weaknesses:
- it's completely throwable;
- it will do a weaker, non-cutscene variant when triggered by projectiles and large disjoints; and
- it will not follow crossups.
These don't invalidate the move by any means, but are some things to keep in mind against characters like Nagoriyuki, Zato, Leo, etc.
An opponent who respects the threat that Kachoufuugetsu poses may opt to frametrap less often in favor of trying to bait this move by tick throwing. Because of this, holding onto 50% meter to threaten the counter can be more effective at weakening the opponent's pressure than outright using it.
The following is an excellent video by Klaige explaining what Kachoufuugetsu brings to the table: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG3EawOV5as
Anji's autoguard spins are not exactly a reliable defensive tool due to their 10-frame startup, during which the opponent can smack him for a counterhit or just walk up and throw. That being said, there are some situations where spinning during gaps in pressure can be beneficial. For example, after blocking Ramlethal's sword throw in the corner, spinning with 236[K] immediately afterwards will allow Anji to autoguard the explosion and force the opponent to adjust their pressure accordingly. Such scenarios should be listed under the relevant Matchups section.
A mirror match, simply be the better player.
Dealing with Axl can be difficult, as you always have to be approaching, but your most important tool when playing in this matchup is patience. Simply making use of dashblocking and staying stuck to him once you get in is very important, which isn't too hard for Anji. Use dash up 6P and 236[S] to dissuade Axl from doing IAD back j.S, as it is very annoying. A good Axl player can make it a struggle to win but overall the matchup is pretty even if not barely in Axl's favor.
NEVER whiff f.S against Chipp, as whiffing it even further than half screen will give you a one way ticket to blocking, which especially sucks VS Chipp. Chipp is so fast that reacting and properly responding to his approach is very hard, as it's mostly up to guesswork, just try to calmly stop a reckless approach with 5K, and try to get a good read on the opponent. When putting Chipp on the defensive, things are a bit of a different story. Make use of 5H a lot when on offense, as it outranges most of Chipp's attacks and can force him back onto the ground if he tries jumping. Another thing to make good use of in neutral is 2D and 2S, since the move's low profile tends to beat Chipp's f.S more often than not. Chipp's overall speed can easily overwhelm Anji in most situations, and you usually have to rely on a good read or lucky hit and capitalize; this matchup is unquestionably in Chipp's favor.
Anji is a rare instance where May's annoying jumping buttons can be realistically defeated thanks to Anji having Kou(236S) in his arsenal, making May have to play a more grounded game. Both of May's dolphins allow for a c.S punish, but keep in mind that the S dolphin will leave may airborne when you punish and H will not so adjust accordingly. After blocking an S dolphin something you definitely want to do is initiate an RPS with your guardpoints. For instance, if you were to do charged Kou(236[S]) following an S dolphin, it will beat May pressing an attack afterward and will catch may trying to take to the air at the same time, but in response she can run up and grab you for a hard punish or wait to see what you do, which loses to you just pressing something and taking initiative to start your own offense. In neutral scout out dolphins with a 5/2K or 5/2P and buffering Fuujin behind it, so that if you do hit May with these buttons you'll special cancel, but only whiff these low commitment buttons if they don't connect. May's f.S and 2S can be quite an annoyance for Anji when navigating neutral thanks to their disjoints, so do your best to make May whiff these attacks and punish, or autoguard to call them out on their overusage of them. This matchup is debatably slightly advantageous for Anji, since he's good at challenging May in spots where most characters have issues (*cough* MAY JUMPING *cough*), but you still have to be careful since May threatens a lot of damage for making a bad decisions. Be cautious but confident.
A particularly rough matchup for Anji. Nagoriyuki's range makes it difficult for Anji to actually play his ideal neutral game, so unfortunately Anji will have to almost exclusively commit to risky options like an airdash jump-in, autoguarding Nago's f.S/5H, or even running up with Kachoufuugetsu. Even once he gets in, Anji needs to watch out for Nago's 5K and 6K, which are strong pokes that shift his hurtbox upwards and cause Anji's 2K/2D/2S to whiff. Nago's 5K is a fairly long frame 7 button that can punish Nagiha on block at most ranges, so Anji may want to prefer using Shin: Ichishiki as a Fuujin followup in pressure.
As terrifying as it is against Nago's pressure, Anji simply needs to stay patient and block low, and know during which gaps he is allowed to mash 2P and during which he can upback to avoid throw mixups (e.g. when Nago drops the third f.S to use a special) and potentially airdash out of the corner. Of course, Nago can notice this and airthrow if he reads it, but this is a far more preferable guessing game for Anji. Kamuriyuki (Nago's 214H) is deceptively safe, being ±0 on block, but if spaced too closely Nago can be thrown out of the startup. Pay attention to the Blood Gauge; when it's at higher levels, Nago may be more inclined to look for his command throw, and if Blood Rage activates, Anji's relatively long blockstrings and combos can ensure that Nago pays dearly for it.
Anji needs to use his defensive tools wisely on account of autoguard and Kachoufuugetsu being much weaker or even punishable if used on Eddie, who is considered a projectile, instead of Zato. Yellow RC and Burst become extremely valuable resources here, as they will kill Eddie if they hit Zato. Standard anti-Eddie measures apply: use 6P to stuff out the frog and use fast P/K normals to smack him otherwise. 2S and 5H have some situational use as they have hitboxes on both sides. Anji's 5K is his best friend in this matchup, and he generally wants to take a very calculated and grounded approach, as Oppose (Eddie's H attack) is effective at punishing predictable approaches and jump-ins.
Pay attention to when Eddie is locked out (red gauge) and use those 3-ish seconds to start applying your pressure. Look for opportunities to run up and throw Zato, such as when he uses frog to pressure without covering the ground in front of him, as tick throws and throw mixups in general will give Zato a hard(er) time. Zato may choose to fly away in disadvantageous situations, like when Eddie is dead or he anticipates a throw, which Kou can catch.
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