Onimaru Potential Buff Suggestions

Currently Onimaru has some problems in high level play, and I’d like to suggest a couple of buff ideas that I think would help him without making him too strong. My two ideas include the following for potential Onimaru buffs:

  1. gC hits all around Onimaru on the first strike, having a consistent hitbox above him and potentially increasing the startup of the move if hitting above him.
  2. jA on block interaction remains the same, but on hit interaction behaves like a normal jump in, plus enough to at the very least combo into nA, but I think comboing into fA is also appropriate.

I’ll discuss my reasoning. For buff 1, this would make his ability to antiair with gC consistent, which I think is one of his main struggles, and considering the move is armored, hitting opponents that are right above Oni’s head usually results in a 1 for 1 trade, as the second hit of gC usually whiffs. I think this would help him a lot in matchups where dive kick moves and really bully him into very awkward options, as jA is inconsistent and nA can also whiff if they’re too close. This buff would really just make gC more consistent as an antiair, and would still preserve its ability to out trade the opponent if spaced well, but let him take a 1 for 1 damage trade to reverse the momentum against jump happy characters.

For buff 2, I think having a heavy hitting character be able to combo a jump in into 3 damage isn’t unreasonable as the majority of the cast already can. jA in its current state has great utility as mobility and I think because of how integral it is for Oni’s movement that needs to remain the same. However, currently on block and on hit, it really is more of a liability than an advantage that every other character gets when their jA is blocked or hits. Because of the ability for Oni jA to make left right mixups, I think risk should remain intact, so keeping the same block interaction would make it very difficult to keep safe if blocked, but making the hit interaction a normal jump in interaction would reward him similar to the rest of the cast jump in damage with big damage as per his character theme. This would greatly improve the consistency of his command grab punishes, as jB and jC can become awkward, especially when cornered, and jA really puts you back in the same spot as you’re negative on hit and in their face. I think letting fA combo after this jA hits is reasonable as most of the cast get 3 damage off of a jA, as well, and Oni’s jA would still carry more risk of being punishable. Also, if jA is used for left right mixups, unless you know the mixup is going to hit, you shouldn’t have time to hit confirm into fA, so as a mixup tool you’re only really looking at 2 damage, whereas command grab punishes will be consistent at 3 damage.

If anyone else has any other suggestions I guess this is the thread for them, but I think these two buffs fit in line with the theme and style of Onimaru, buffing his gameplay, while also not making some of his tools too ridiculous. Feel free to let me know you’re thoughts.

In terms of buffs, I’d like to see:

  1. I want a way to get out of the air safely after doing jA. I don’t really mind what it is, but this move is currently the only attack I can think of that is actually unsafe on hit. You get one damage, maybe two, and then you land and instantly get thrown. It’s annoying. One suggestion is to make jA behave more like a normal divekick on hit (warning: this would actually make Onimaru worse against Rook and Midori’s dragon form). Another would be to remove the landing recovery entirely if the move hits or is blocked, so that you could at least yomi counter on landing. I think being able to do jC after jA might be a bit silly but I’d love to at least know someone had tested it. Finally, perhaps holding back during the impact on the first or second hit would make Onimaru flip back down to the ground a safe distance from the opponent, as a way to stop bouncing early and be a bit safer?

  2. Many people have commented on the lack of a decent anti-air. nA is mediocre, gS is a super, gC is too slow and has a bad hitbox, jB is much too slow.

  3. I think the frame data on nA could do with a tiny little tweak. Currently you can combo a counter-hit nA into B, but if you try to cancel a normal hit nA into B, you can get thrown. If normal hitstun was just one frame longer I think (hit)nA, B would be safe, but obviously still wouldn’t combo. You could also address this by making the hitstop on nA longer and therefore making the difference between block, hit, and CH more reactable.

  4. I have heard lots of suggestions for making his stance mixups better: Allowing him to throw while in stance, allowing him to hold stance for longer but also abort stance early without doing anything, or just plain making spirit fire a better option. Personally, this last option seems good to me because I can’t really see you why you would want to use spirit fire at all unless the opponent is about to be guard crushed.

Please note, I recognise that uninformed opinions are rarely helpful and that often only the best players really understand each situation well enough to offer good balancing advice. I was not a good player even when I was playing this game regularly, so please do not take my opinions as being backed up with a vast reservoir of knowledge.

The only things I’m really confident about are that nA, B is a bad idea except on counter-hit, and that a move that’s unsafe on hit needs to be a lot more rewarding than jA before I’d ever start using it.

I want two things.

  • Level 3 Martial Law breaking armour on hit.
  • A less cumbersome way to dash in stance. At the very least allow Onimaru to hold jump while pressing the direction too, instead of having it only work the other way and make input buffer account for simultaneous direction+jump taps, as opposed to ignoring them. Personally I would really like simply pressing the direction once in order to dash, but I understand if developers don’t find this agreeable, even though it would be my favourite option by far.

Also, this isn’t related to balance, but I think Onimaru’s fA’s trail should be shortened a bit.

This size would still make it look like a powerful attack, while not being as misleading when it comes to the actual hitbox size.

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Also, why is Spirit Fire unsafe on block? I’m not really sure what the intended use of this move is. It loses to attacks, it loses to walk up throw, it loses to block, it loses to reversals and it loses to jumping over you. I really struggle to find a situation where it will actually hit. Maybe if the opponent throws out a speculative attack from outside the range of parry in the hope of catching a shoulder ram, but even then, a lot of attacks will actually interrupt the spirit fire because Onimaru’s hurtbox moves forwards so much during the startup.

Is it only intended to be used when the opponent can be guard crushed by it?

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What if Onimaru’s Martial Law was immune to special throws? This would improve his chances against Setsuki and especially Midori, while still keeping his reversal options weak to normal throws.

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I find it most useful in the corner. If they block the fA>B on wakeup, then Spirit Fire is a good move to catch people jumping out.

I don’t think he needs a buff to his anti-air. It’s not like he’s the worst in the game at it, and even if he was, everyone has weaknesses. But I agree that the lack of a safe jump-in is bad.

I’m not arguing Onimaru needs his parry to autocorrect, but I die a little bit inside everytime my Onimaru sword slashes on the wrong side.

He desperately needs both a decent jA option and a consistent anti-air though, no arguments there.

Grave doesn’t.

One thing nobody has mentioned is his inability to apply pressure against half the cast, because cancelling a normal into B gets met with some sort of reaction for free. He should be able to abort his B early by holding B, but still enter stance (so he cant super or something). If he enters stance faster he could react to whatever the opponent is doing in reaction to his fake B.

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Another issue I have with Onimaru is his parry vs. some jump in attacks.

You can block Oni’s B, and reaction jump in on seeing the parry to trigger the parry, land in time to block/parry the parry. Oni cannot do anything offensively about this chain of events even on a read that they’ll try to jump in, BB can be beaten by some jump ins(Fluffiest has done the testing), cancelling the parry to nA gets counterhit, cancelling the parry to nC is too slow.

This leads to some degenerate stuff for eg. Rook can fA and C throw the Oni’s parry, Midori can land and parry the parry, Degray can land and parry with super, Jaina and Grave can land and jS the parry.

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Edit: Had a long conversation with Sirlin and others about this. In conclusion, I’m holding off on requesting changes, but I left this post up because I spent time and effort making it funny.

Extensive testing of spirit fire (B, B) in practice mode reveals that most other characters can divekick into the attack and hit Onimaru over or in some cases through the blade, hitting him when it really looks like they should be the ones getting hit. I am assembling a collection of screenshots of the most egregious cases, if anyone wants proof.

The issue here seems to be that Onimaru’s hurtbox during this move is virtually his entire body, while the hitbox of the move seems to be just the sword (and the ghosts), not extending a pixel above it. Since most jA attacks have “fighting game style” hitboxes where the character’s legs are untouchable, this often results in Onimaru being the one to get hit, despite the alleged anti-air properties of this move and the fact that the opponent’s crotch is being mauled by angry ghosts.

I think this should be fixed. It’s not just that anti-air is a significant identified weakness of this (already struggling) character, and it’s not just that spirit fire seems to be a very bad move to perform in the majority of situations and knowing the opponent can just jA through it makes it worse; it’s more important than just a balance issue. It looks bad.

Regarding balance: Many characters can block a tip-range tactical slice and immediately jump in, knowing that whatever Onimaru does, they’re advantaged. For example, let’s say I’m Geiger and I just blocked a tip-range tactical slice. I jump forwards.

  • If Onimaru does Spirit Fire, I can do a high jA. I hit him because my hurtboxes are good and his aren’t. I think this can be done on reaction, Spirit Fire is pretty slow and the cue is very early in the move.
  • If Onimaru does parry, I can do a low jA. Either he tapped parry and I hit him in the recovery, or he held it and I trigger the parry, land, and immediately flash gear. Again, this feels like it can be done on reaction.
  • If Onimaru does shoulder ram or just lets the stance end naturally, I can still jA. He’ll block but now I have frame advantage.
  • If Onimaru dodges forwards, then we’ve just crossed over and now I have the entire rest of the stage to retreat into, and he can have fun getting in again.
  • If Onimaru dodges backwards then… well, actually, if he does that he can fA me before I land, BUT I can jA him to hit him out of it because I’m Geiger and I was at the front of the queue when the legs were handed out.

(Edit: I clean forgot Onimaru can delay shoulder ram and parry, and that doing so is really powerful against an opponent who jumps in while trying to react, so… this set of interactions might actually be ok, but I’ve left it in because I had fun writing it.)

Ok, maybe Geiger was a bad example? I’ll test every situation with every character if I have to, but so far it’s not looking good for Onimaru. Jaina, Geiger, Argagarg, Setsuki, Rook, Midori, Lum, DeGrey, and even goddamn Quince can all block a tip-range B from Onimaru and then jump right at him with the ability to cleanly beat Spirit Fire with jA if he makes the mistake of doing it. Grave can jB instead. Only Valerie has a hard time, but she can just jC to get out of the whole situation if she hears “spirit fire”.

Part of this is that Onimaru moves so far forward during the spirit fire startup that his opponent can generally jump almost all the way over the sword, part of it is the unforgiving hurtbox, and part of it is Spirit Fire being reactable. Obviously Setsuki, Lum, and Quince have diagonal air projectiles so even if the hurtboxes were better, they’d win this one by hitting the General in the face with a melon or melon equivalent.

To make things worse, many characters (possibly everyone, I was too demoralized to test) can use a low jA to trigger the parry and then land in time to block it. Any character with a reversal (except Grave’s sword, which is too slow) can then beat the parry attack with it. Midori and DeGrey can even jA and then parry Onimaru’s parry, as if those matchups weren’t awful enough already.

In summary, and backed up with extensive testing: B, B Spirit Fire is bad. It loses to basically everything - block, strike, reversal, jumping over Onimaru from close range, jumping directly into the giant glowing sword and doing a desperate jA - except “try to block and get guard crushed”. I badly want it to be safe on block (bullying the opponent with parry and shoulder ram until they are intimidated into blocking Spirit Fire should be a good thing, damnit), or have safer hurtboxes so Oni can’t get divekicked over or through it, or a higher hitbox, or something.

(Edit: Sirlin’s comment is that Spirit Fire has to be bad because if the most common “guard crush your opponent for 2” button was good, Onimaru would take everyone’s lunch money. He didn’t use those words though.)

Additionally, nA should either have one more frame of hitstun so that you can cancel it into B on hit without getting thrown on reaction, or it should have a longer hitstop so you can react to the counterhit indicator. This is less of a big deal; the move isn’t useless, it’s just the “combo into B on counterhit!” property is a bit of a waste when you will normally just combo into getting thrown.

I am going to ask around about jA, it may be that it is actually safe because you can “bounce backwards” by holding back during the hitstop, but it’s hard to test by myself.