Samurai Shodown VI/Haohmaru
Forty characters in the lineup and you still want to pick the poster boy.
Haohmaru is more or less the same character he was in V Special. You still have your big boy 5C and everything around it, you still have extremely high damage overall and you still have options for every situation. However, you have arguably been nerfed a little in that your new WFT doesn't combo from n5B. Though this new WFT is still very strong when you can land it, this presents an important choice for Haohmaru regarding his Spirit. Will you take advantage of Continuous Slash's juggle into WFT in IV Spirit, or will you simply not bother with landing it and invest in V Spirit's meditation instead? Your choice in Spirit will pave the path of your ronin destiny.
- Dash type: Run
- Damage taken: 100% (5th Tankiest)
- Rage retention: 150
- Rage duration: 10 seconds
Haohmaru's best range is at around the tip of his 5C, which coincidentally happens to be right where you're sitting when the round starts. You want to keep this spacing for a number of reasons:
- The ground game. Haohmaru's 5C is a homewrecker - it has amazing range, deals massive damage on hit and recoils on block. Your recoil cancel options aren't the greatest but they get the job done - you can use Cyclone Slash (236X, either A or B versions) to either help your way in or extend pressure, or additionally you can throw in Fake Cyclone Slash (236D) if you have conditioned your opponent to block the fireball then run in and go for a mixup. For counter pokes there's always deflect, but against opponents with long-ranged low slashes such as Sogetsu you could possibly opt for Earthquake Slice (421S) to hop over their attack and score a knockdown. You may attempt to recoil into Crescent Moon Slash (623S) as a fast counter-attack if you are closer, but keep in mind these are not true reversals. 5B is okay for recoil cancels too, as 236A is more likely to hit the opponent after recoiling at this range and it is easier to run in and mixup from there.
- Jumping in. Haohmaru's jC is an absolute unit, both as an air-to-air and as a jump-in. Additionally, Haohmaru's forward jump is not only pretty quick for this game's standards but it reaches far enough to jump in from 5C range. Anti-airs in Samurai Shodown are generally not very reliable (your character is an exception), so there's not much most opponents can do besides commit to a neutral jump or something if they think you'll go for it rather than stick to the ground game. Up close is another range Haohmaru wants to be, as he has decent mixup with his sweeps, command overhead (3B) and jC. Furthermore his run is quite fast making it easy to throw in a run-up grab.
- Anti-airs. Haohmaru actually has anti-airs, though they're still not that rewarding - the anti-air hit of 623S does significantly less than the grounded hit, so while you're not going to score big damage off of one you at least still get a knockdown. He can also try with 2C, which reaches decently high but is slow, so you're bound to cop a deephit if you screw it up. In terms of damage and overall dependability Haohmaru's most rewarding option is to neutral jump and jC in place, as its hitbox is fat enough to cover a decent area around him. Whichever option you choose, it will be much easier to react to the opponent's jump at 5C range. If you have been spamming fireballs at this range you can possibly bait a jump with 236D, but be mindful that you're not playing Street Fighter.
If you're at a range where you can hit 5C comfortably then you're doing fine, but what happens when you aren't? The simplest solution is to toss a fireball or two then close in, but remember that Haohmaru has the tools mentioned above to play defensively. If you're sitting on a lifelead you can turtle with a bit of fireball spam and the occasional poke, which can make the opponent come to you (i.e. get in your coveted 5C range). If you're playing against a keepaway character then you'll mainly have to play the walk-forward-then-block-fireball game, using forward jumps sparingly if their character can cover that area, while you work your way back into your ideal range. Switch up your approach to this situation depending on the matchup.
Which Spirit to choose? IV and V Spirits were mentioned in the introduction as Haohmaru's most sensible choices. IV doesn't particularly help Haohmaru's neutral, but it does give Haohmaru access to Continuous Slash. For any medium slash punish he can substitute n5B with A+B instead and not only get more damaging bread-and-butters but a way to combo into your WFT without relying on 2C, which you will have plenty of opportunities to land as IV gives you the lengthiest set Rage duration out of all Spirits. If you can't be bothered with landing the WFT then V Spirit is the way to go, as Haohmaru can safely meditate at 5C range and has rewarding mixups in State Of Nothingness, though he doesn't have any launchers to prevent Rage Explosion. Another boon to this Spirit is access to rolls, which help to close the gap against keepaway and can be used to space fireballs, and hops/duck to beat throws and high/low profile on the spot.
- 5A - Light poke, negative on hit but not as bad as 2A. Cancellable at any point.
- 5B - Standard poke/recoil button from mid-range, though a bit slow. Safer than 5C but nowhere near as rewarding if it hits.
- 5C - Sluggish startup but massive damage, massive range and easy to recoil cancel from. Haohmaru's recoil options give him some flexibility from a blocked 5C, particularly when it is spaced properly.
- 2A - An 11f poke that's -18 on hit for some strange reason. It's cancellable, at least. 5A completely outclasses this move, so ignore this move and use that one instead.
- 2B - Hits low. About the same startup as 2A but reaches farther and has better damage and hitstun. Comes out faster than 5B but that move has way better range. Not special cancellable.
- 2C - Slow anti-air swing upwards. This is special cancellable and, given its heavy hitstun, the only way Haohmaru can normally combo into WFT.
- n5A - Quick hit with the butt of your sword. Special cancellable but will only combo into 623C.
- n5B - Average special-cancellable close medium.
- n5C - Downward swipe. Does slightly more damage than n5B 623C but doesn't knock down either. Potential use as a meaty.
- n2A - n5A but lower.
- n2B - Same as far version.
- n2C - Same as far version.
- 5D - Haohmaru's only kick that isn't a low, this is a roundhouse which hits above his head.
- 6D - Standing low.
- 2D - Very fast low poke. Can lead into tick throws and link into 623C.
- 3D - Low slide. Useful for punishes especially if you're unarmed.
- 66A - Running punch. Advantageous on hit which means this is good for pressure and tick throws if spaced properly.
- 66B - Basically the exact same move as your n5B but it doesn't recoil. Combo starter.
- 66C - Running n5C which knocks down. Punish tool with more range than 66B.
- 66D - Running 3D. Easy punish tool and something simple you can do for oki.
- jA - Aerial 5A.
- jB - Looks the same as jA but trades startup for damage. Reaches a bit further out than jC but very situational.
- jC - Braindead jump-in, air-to-air and everything else you would want out of an air normal. Has an amazing vertical hitbox and leaves plenty of hitstun to link n5B after you land.
- jD - An air-to-air that hits lower than jA and jB, and given it has better reach it is typically more useful in this regard.
- u5S - Standing punch.
- u2S - Crouching punch.
- u2D - For whatever reason, Haohmaru's 2D loses eight frames of advantage on hit when he is unarmed. Frame data on block remains the same.
- u66S - 66A but it knocks down.
- juS - Aerial punch.
Hyper Slash (I)
- A+B - His Rage-enhanced 5C from Samurai Shodown IV, complete with the jagged hit effects. And the high damage, of course - this is on the higher end of Hyper Slashes damage-wise.
3B, can be done unarmed
- Grounded overhead, nothing too fancy. His old 5BC from V Special. If it is used as a meaty then it can link into 623C or your Secret Move if it hits at the last possible frames.
Cyclone Slash - 236S
- Your fireball. Strength determines startup, recovery and how far it travels (also the stall from the opponent getting hit to them hitting the ground, but this is only important for when the timer's about to run out if anything), but no version will reach fullscreen. Results in a hard knockdown on hit.
- 236A and 236B are both viable options after recoils. 236A has fast startup and short recovery, giving you something to run behind while it's out, but it will dissipate just outside of 5B range. 236B will hit from the maximum range of your 5C but even then you will only have a slight advantage. You can either go for another 5C to extend your pressure or run in and try something, though in the latter case the opponent won't be too restricted.
- For whatever reason, when attempting to pursuit from this move you get nothing if you time 3C perfectly, and 2C otherwise. Still gives a lot of time for oki though, right?
Fake Cyclone Slash - 236D
- A fake fireball. If your opponent is expecting you to block a fireball after your slash recoils then you can mix this in and recover quickly enough to run in and go for a mixup without it being too reactable depending on how close you are. Given the startup on his fireballs Haohmaru isn't really a fireball zoner so you're probably not going to use this for the fireball/DP game that much, although that is possible because Haohmaru has some of the best anti-airs in the game.
- If you are running a Spirit which rewards offense with Rage then performing this won't build any Rage for you, while other Cyclone Slashes will.
Crescent Moon Slash - 623S
- One of the most dependable DP-style moves in the game, at least for knocking opponents out of the air (the invincible startup on either of the versions doesn't extend all the way to the hit). Startup determines how high the DP flies up. Each version has two hits - one powerful ground hit, then a weak anti-air hit. Anti-airing with this move is only really rewarding for the knockdown. Given the powerful first hit, however, this attack is most suitable as a combo ender.
- 623C has the most powerful ground hit, the weakest air hit and no invincibility whatsoever. However, it is fast as hell compared to the other versions, allowing it to combo from a n5A cancel, a 2D link, a 3B meaty and other things the weaker versions simply can't.
Renting Tremor Slash - 623S while running (can only be done after you've been running for about one character length)
- The same deal as your regular DPs but you retain your running momentum, you have more invincibility and your attacks do more hits. This can be deflected like your other running attacks (even though you can't deflect regular DP), so no tricks there.
Earthquake Slice - 421S (Samurai Drive)
- Leaping overhead which knocks down. Strength determines the startup, damage and how far and high Haohmaru leaps. 421A is the most practical while 421B does a bit more damage. 421C does a HUGE leap into the air before crashing down, dealing roughly the same amount of damage as your WFT but being impossible to combo into and extremely impractical.
Rice Wine Whack - 214D, can be done unarmed
- This bottle swing reflects fireballs. A reflected fireball will retain its properties, for instance Haohmaru's own 236S will return straight forward while Rasetsumaru's 236S will restart its arc from the same position it was reflected from. This can also be combo'd into and has a visual effect where the bottle shatters, but the damage is nothing to write home about.
Sword Slash Attack - 632146AB
- The Japanese call this move Minazuki Zankuro. An extremely hard-hitting slash which deletes about a third of their health, but the extremely long startup means there is no way you are using this in neutral without getting killed. After a successful deflect you have just enough time to follow up with this move, though the window for this is very brief. This can also be combo'd into from a deephit jC and a counter hit 2C.
Toy Transformation - 6321464E (II)
Judgement Destroy Flash Slash - 236AB
- After a brief wind-up Haohmaru delivers a slash for the ages, with a brilliant light covering an extremely large space around him. Unfortunately this isn't as fast as its 2019 incarnation, meaning it's not as reliable as an anti-air nor can it be combo'd from n5B without a counter hit. Regardless this still hits hard, dealing a little more damage than your famed 5C and hitting a much greater area. If you can land it then do it.
Secret Move Judgement Blast Slash - 341236421BC (II), 236BC (VI) (Samurai Drive)
- His WFT from V Special. This was a secret move in II, and it's his secret move here. Combos from everything that 623C will combo from and deals just a bit less damage than 236AB. Like in V Special, the opponent can still Rage Explode out of this.
- n5A/n2A 623C - Light combos.
- n5B/66B 623S/214D - 623C does the most damage.
- 2C 421A/B/236AB - Combos you can't get from n5B.
- n5B/66B 236AB - Requires a counter hit.
- 66A/2D, 623C - Link combos.
- 3B, 623C - Meaty only.
- 2C/jC, 632146AB - Requires a counter hit either way, but jC will also cause a deephit against a crouching opponent.
Continuous Slash (IV)
- 2D, A+B ... - Link into Continuous Slash. Counter hit only.
- A+B BBC 623S/421A/B/214D/236AB - 214D surprisingly does the most meterless damage but you have to delay the cancel a bit. 623C actually does less damage here than its other strengths. Combo into WFT if you have it.
- A+B AABBCC 623S/214D - Unlike the combo above you will get the most damage from a DP ender because you'll be able to land the initial hit. Here 623C is your best ender. You can also cancel from the second B but would you want to?
State Of Nothingness (V)
- 3B, n5C, ABC - Not a launcher, but a simple mixup you can do. Only way to combo from 3B without hitting it meaty.
Frame Data - Provided by Tekitogate
|Attack||Startup||On Hit||On Standing Block||On Crouching Block||Notes|