You should pick Hakumen if:
- Want to play a footsies based character with a playstyle on the slower side.
- Like being rewarded for making hard-reads with parries and land high-damage punishes.
- Enjoy having to play patiently, carefully managing a resource and adapting playstyle accordingly.
You should avoid Hakumen if:
- You need a highly mobile character. He doesn't have a dash and his IAD is easy to anti-air if too predictable. Being patient and cautious to get in is necessary.
- Dislike having to take high-risks to win. Some of Hakumen normals are on the slower side and have plenty of recovery.
- Having an extensive offense toolkit is a must. Due to Hakumen's limited amount of gatlings, his pressure is fairly short and basic.
Hakumen's ground neutral centers around his 4CGuardAllStartup10Recovery24Advantage-4 as it has a great combination of range and speed. However, it requires a counter hit to combo and doesn't cancel into other normals/specials (except supers). At closer range, 2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0 and 2BGuardLowStartup8Recovery15Advantage-4 are faster and yield higher rewards.
Hakumen can also counter pokes or approach at mid range with 623AAGuardMidStartup6Recovery16Advantage-4 and 214DGuardallStartup30Recovery18Advantage-7. 623AAGuardMidStartup6Recovery16Advantage-4 is invulnerable to body and head attributes moves and is especially strong against upbacking opponents. 214DGuardallStartup30Recovery18Advantage-7 also covers moves with foot properties but is more expensive requires additional meter to make it safe on block.
In the air, Hakumen has access to a very strong poke with j.CGuardAllStartup12Recovery32+3LAdvantage-. It is very similar to 4CGuardAllStartup10Recovery24Advantage-4 and is primarily used at mid range to prevent the other player from approaching. At closer range, j.BGuardHigh/AirStartup9Recovery20Advantage- is fast and ideal for starting pressure but loses to anti-airs. This can be addressed with j.214AGuardAllStartup12RecoveryTotal 35Advantage-2 or j.D, the former has projectile properties and thus bypasses most anti-airs.
Beware that Hakumen's airdashes have long animations and are easy to anti-air. Do not be predictable with them.
Defensively, Hakumen is renowed for his parries. If an opponent's move makes contact with it, it will initiate a command grab and catch the opponent. Hakumen has several counters with different properties:
- 2DGuardStartupRecovery46Advantage- is the most practical one as it is active immediately and catches both lows and mids.
- 5DGuardStartupRecovery40Advantage- catches mids and highs, has a lot of active frames but doesn't start on frame 1. It is often used as counter-poke or a pseudo anti-air.
- 6DGuardStartupRecovery43Advantage- also catches mids and highs and is active on frame 1 but has very few active frames and doesn't reliably lead to combos.
- j.D is active on frame 1 is often used against predictable air-to-air and anti-airs.
- 236236DGuardStartupRecovery43Advantage- catches lows, mids and highs, leads to high damage combos. It is often used as a get-out-jail card against aggressive characters.
Every parry loses to throws and is thus often a go-to option against Hakumen. This can be mitigated by using Overdrive to make the throws whiff and punishing them with 5BGuardMidStartup10Recovery15Advantage0 CH. Beware, that parries are also inherently high-risks and that they are easily punished if predictable.
Hakumen's mix-up wise, Hakumen has some nifty tools in his arsenal. 6BGuardHigh, MidStartup18Recovery23Advantage-4 is a very fast overhead but doesn't lead to any combo on hit (without a counter hit or rapid cancel). At close range, 236BGuardLow, MidStartup9Recovery21Advantage-5 and 41236CGuardHigh/Air, Low/AirStartup21Recovery18Advantage-2 are specials to that grant a high/low mix-ups but they are both quite expensive.
Due to Hakumen's lack of gatlings, his mix-ups tends to be very telegraped and easy to anticipate. If either 236BGuardLow, MidStartup9Recovery21Advantage-5 or 41236CGuardHigh/Air, Low/AirStartup21Recovery18Advantage-2 are blocked, Hakumen's pressure will often end quickly after.
2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0 > 2BGuardLowStartup8Recovery15Advantage-4 > 214AGuardAllStartup14Recovery15Advantage+1: A basic blockstring that leaves Hakumen +1 on block. It is often cancelled into 2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0/5AGuardMidStartup5Recovery6Advantage+3
2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0 > 5BGuardMidStartup10Recovery15Advantage0 > 2BGuardLowStartup8Recovery15Advantage-4/6BGuardHigh, MidStartup18Recovery23Advantage-4: A close range blockstring only. 5B > 2B is a frame trap.
... > 623AGuardStartupRecovery18Advantage- > Throw: Basic Throw mix-up. 623A helps getting closer.
... > 236BGuardLow, MidStartup9Recovery21Advantage-5/41236CGuardHigh/Air, Low/AirStartup21Recovery18Advantage-2: Close range high/low mix-up after any move that is special cancellable.
What to do after a knockdown
Attacking the opponent as or after they wake-up is known is okizeme. It puts pressure on the opponent and is done to keep the momentum. Check the glossary for more details.
Compared to other characters, Hakumen's okizeme is very basic. His 3 main combo enders are 3CGuardLowStartup8Recovery28Advantage-12, j.214AGuardAllStartup12RecoveryTotal 35Advantage-2 and 6BGuardHigh, MidStartup18Recovery23Advantage-4.
- 3CGuardLowStartup8Recovery28Advantage-12 is overall Hakumen's worst combo ender as it has a lot of recovery. It is often followed up with 2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0 or 2BGuardLowStartup8Recovery15Advantage-4. Both beat mashing and may beat rolls depending on the timing and distance. With a few exceptions, they lose to reversals and backdashes.
- j.214AGuardAllStartup12RecoveryTotal 35Advantage-2 is one Hakumen's main air combo ender. It is a bit more versatile than 3CGuardLowStartup8Recovery28Advantage-12 but comes at the cost of 1 magatama and is thus not always available. (air hit) 5B > 9jc > j.B2A > 9jc > j.B2A > j.214A is a very basic combo ender and one of the more commonly done one. j.214AGuardAllStartup12RecoveryTotal 35Advantage-2 can be followed up with Falling j.2CGuardHigh/AirStartup16Recovery30Advantage- > 2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0 to catch rolls with j.2CGuardHigh/AirStartup16Recovery30Advantage- and beats mashing with 2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0.
- 6BGuardHigh, MidStartup18Recovery23Advantage-4 and air hit 5CGuardMidStartup14Recovery20Advantage-3 are overall Hakumen's best okizeme enders. They are primarily done at the end of corner combos. The main follow-up are 6AGuardMidStartup12Recovery16Advantage-1 > 2AGuardMidStartup7Recovery9Advantage0/2BGuardLowStartup8Recovery15Advantage-4 as they roll-safe an beats mashing. The 2 most common combos that lead into them are:
- 2A > 2B > 236B > IAD j.2A > j.C > 5C > 6A > 6B
- 2A > 2B > 623AA > 6A > 6B > 5A > j.B2AC > 623AA > 6C > 5C (Character specific)
For more enders, check the Okizeme section.
Hakumen has a wide range of combos available due to his wide range of specials and meter management aspect. If you are new to fighting games, start with the combos in the beginner section of the combo doc for the most basic and practical routes.
As Hakumen is heavily reliant on meter, the basic gameplan is to play a keepaway playstyle to hoard magatamas and occasionally approach/counter-poke with 623AAGuardMidStartup6Recovery16Advantage-4 and 214DGuardallStartup30Recovery18Advantage-7.
This strategy is helped by Hakumen's strong normals such as 4CGuardAllStartup10Recovery24Advantage-4 and j.CGuardAllStartup12Recovery32+3LAdvantage-. Learning the range of those normals is crucial to use them at their full potentials. At maximum range, those pokes have very little counterplay and often require roundabout ways to deal with them.
Being patient and cautious is vital and knowing when and how to go on the offensive is vital. Being too aggressive with Hakumen specials is very expensive and will hurt Hakumen's combos, pressure and comeback potential. Being too patient can be detrimental as well as some match-ups have to be played more aggressively. For instance, Amane, Nu, Lambda can outrange Hakumen and can punish him for being too passive. For more details about specific match-ups check the match-up section.
- While 3CGuardLowStartup8Recovery28Advantage-12 is a fast low and sometimes used in combos. However, it is terrible in pressure as it is -12 and cannot be cancelled into other normals or specials.
- Hakumen's airdash has a very lengthy animation making it vulnerable to anti-airs. Being patient and approaching slowly with either 9jc, 9hjc, 66 or 66 9jc is much safer.
- While it may be tempting to use drives, they are high-risk and cannot act as a substitute for blocking.