Hyde is the closest character in this game to being the "Ryu" of the roster. He is very well rounded thanks to his diverse moveset deals average damage. Hyde can zone against characters who struggle to deal with projectiles with his Black Orbiter fireball while also breaking through enemy zoning with his EX Black Orbiter and Pale Bringer Arose. He also excels at spacing thanks to the huge range on his B normals. His "unique beat" system that all UNIEL characters have enables him to stay safe when pressuring or spacing out his opponents by canceling into quick and safe attacks. Hyde's EXS of Jet Black: Void Red makes his pressure very scary as he can deal decent damage even if his opponent successfully blocks his attacks.
However, Hyde is a very honest character which means he has no real tricks or gimmicks for breaking through an opponents defenses. His two lows have short range and are too vital for making his pressure safe, his only grounded overhead is hilariously slow with poor reward on hit, and his only options for mid-blockstring jump cancels are his aforementioned low range lows and his equally short jab. Hyde also only gets good damage off of air combos and he only gets good oki off ground combos (the latter of which requires Hyde to use his specials in unusual ways, many of which are difficult to consistently execute). This forces him to pick between immediate damage or set-play.
Hyde's goal is to use his projectiles, sword normals, and assist calls to keep the opponent at a moderate range. He wants to catch opponents making mistakes in neutral (such as obvious jump-ins, whiffing attacks, complacent pressure, etc.) where his kit can punish them rather than on constant defense where his poor mix-up game would be exposed. Much like his EXS, his priority is to chip away at the opponent's defense and patience so as to create an opening that Hyde can use to secure the match.
Hyde can produce a knockdown from a variety of different special moves which means he can always get at least a meaty off any combo. However, Hyde can only reliable produce safe-jump oki from grounded moves so while Hyde gets better damage from air combos he gets better oki from ground combos.
1) Sweep (2C): Only works when grounded but works anywhere on the screen. Jump-canceling grants safe-jump oki.
2) Bend Sinister (5AAAA or 236B after Black Orbiter): Only works when grounded but works anywhere on the screen. The higher the opponent is when the attack connects, the greater the frame advantage. Can grant safe-jump oki if the frame advantage is great enough.
3) Vacant Shift Third (214A/B~A/B/C~A/B/C): Works anywhere on the screen, both on the ground and in the air. The closer Hyde is to the ground and the higher the opponent is when the last hit connects, the greater the frame advantage. Delaying the final hit can improve the final frame advantage. Can grant safe-jump oki if the frame advantage is great enough. Air version never grants safe-jump oki.
4) Vacant Shift - Sediment (214C): Works anywhere on the screen, both on the ground and in the air. The closer Hyde is to the ground when the last hit connects, the greater the frame advantage. Can grant safe-jump oki if the frame advantage is great enough. Air version never grants safe-jump oki. Costs one bar of meter.
5) Pale Bringer Arose (214B+C): Only works when grounded but works anywhere on the screen. Guarantees a corner position and safe-jump oki. Deals minimum damage that increases with the distance Hyde travels. Costs two bars of meter.
Choosing an Oki Route
1) Sweep is very easy to use and will always guarantee safe-jump oki on hit. However, ending a combo with this move will always result in sub-optimal damage and metergain. Use 5AA to drag airborne opponents downward so that 2C will connect.
2) Bend Sinister can be used in two situation; at the end of Hyde's A Smart Combo or after a non-EX or assist Black Orbiter. This move will never whiff after 5AAA or Black Orbiter unless there isn't enough hitstun left in the combo. Because this move is only available as a follow-up and low hitstun can result in a drop, Bend Sinister cannot be used to end long combos.
3) Vacant Shift Third is the final attack of Hyde's air rekka special move Vacant Shift. As it is his only air option for a knockdown and is his most damaging meterless option for ending combos, this is the move Hyde will use most for oki. The final hit can be used early on in a combo to link into 5A for further attacks so don't use this for oki if hitstun is still plentiful. Normally provides time for a meaty on wake-up but if Hyde uses the grounded version and the opponent is high enough, Hyde can get safe-jump oki off of this move.
4) Vacant Shift - Sediment is the EX version of Vacant Shift. This version isn't a rekka but it deals much more damage thanks to its minimum damage modifier while being unable to be interrupted by bursts. While this move's frame advantage is also influenced by Hyde's distance from the ground, it isn't affected by the opponents height, always has a greater frame advantage than the normal versions, and always provides safe-jump oki if the ground version is used. Costs 1 bar and incurs a 180 frame meter build cooldown.
5) Pale Bringer Arose is Hyde's go-to super for ending ground combos thanks to the fact that it always drags opponents to the corner and guarantees safe-jump oki. Incredibly easy to combo into, does tons of minimum damage, cannot be bursted, and has identical frame advantage regardless of how it connects. While it Costs 2 bars and incurs a 180 frame meter build cooldown, this move should be used to end combos whenever possible.
The "unique beat" mechanic of UNIEL characters allows Hyde to cancel any normal into any another normal so long as it hasn't been used yet in a particular string, though 5C has no cancel options and Shadow Scare can only cancel into 5C and 2C. Thus, Hyde doesn't need to use any particular pattern of normals to keep a blockstring going. Just make sure to always have either 2A or 2C at the end of a string so that Hyde can jump cancel to either disengage or restart pressure with j.B. Never end a blockstring with a special move as they are all unsafe on block. If Hyde has access to an assist, he can use it to either patch holes in his blockstrings or let him use unsafe moves like Bend Sinister and 5C.
Tips and Tricks
- Keep up the pressure... Hyde's EXS allows every move except 2A, 2C, and Raging Roar to do chip damage on block.
- ...But don't over do it! Hyde has a poor mix-up game and very unsafe specials so don't exhaust all your other options!
- Don't throw out lows carelessly! They are Hyde's only practical jump-cancelable options in blockstrings.
- Focus on your spacing! Use Hyde's long range sword normals and projectiles to safely poke your opponent.
- Shut down zoning! EX Black Orbiter can eat up other projectiles while covering Hyde's approach. Pale Bringer Arose's invulnerability can be used to punch through full-screen projectiles.
- Corner the opponent! Delayed Vacant Shift Third combo extensions have lots of corner carry while Pale Bringer Arose always corners the opponent!
The most important thing to keep in mind when fighting Hyde is that his chip damage allows him to always make progress to K.O.-ing one of your characters so long as he is in neutral or advantage state. This means that your main goal should be to keep Hyde blocking or in hitstun as long as possible. Hyde's only reversal options are his Reversal Action, Red-Clad Craver, and his two supers. However, they are all very unsafe on block or whiff and are all susceptible to safe-jump oki. Hyde thrives in neutral but struggles to regain his footing in a disadvantage state. Also note that his mix-up game is both slow and predictable so look for opportunities to punish it with low profiles, anti-airs, or reversals.