Europe and America usually place Hao into low to mid tiers; but in Asia, there are people who consider him superstrong. One of those is Shen Yuan from Singapore whom I asked why he think so – and to compare, I asked top EU Hao player Habaduba for his opinion too.

Shen Yuan

Shen Yuan is a well-known player from Singapore who used to be known for his Xianghua but lately, he is running Haohmaru a lot. Here you can see his latest exhibition (up to date) versus well-known Nightmare player 575:

Shen Yuan is one of those who consider this character to be really, really strong. I asked him why – and he listed me his reasons in points:

  1. Best movement in the game. Best backdash.
  2. Extremely dangerous endgame with meter. He has his special soul charge with a ridiculous CE. Even without that, he has a i14 CE punish like Mitsurugi. He can combo into CE off every throw and combo in the endgame.
  3. Most damaging AA and BB in the game.
  4. Many unblockable setups with 44B+K. I’m not sure in the current patch but it was unsteppable in the previous patch.
  5. SC is spammy with 9A+B. It is a vertical attack with a quake stun so its unsteppable.
  6. VERY strong lows, arguably the best in the game with a very long range and safe 1A, 1B. WF KA is only -16 and is great on hit (because he have dumb backdash)
  7. Very strong 14 frame punish against lows, launches with 2B 623B; i14 CE; and aB into 623KK or into CE.
  8. A lot of gimmicks; he has 2d style tick throw setups
  9. Also, he have arguably the best GI in the game with 236A+B. You cannot GI back and 4A+B can evade guard breaks on reaction.

Overall, Shen Yuan considered Haohmaru being TOP3 character in previous patch (Setsuka release), mainly due to unblockable setups. Right now (Hwang release patch), he find him being a bit weaker, but still see him being TOP8.


To compare the differences in Hao’s perception, I reached out to Habaduba who is top European Haohmaru player hailing from Poland. You can check his gemeplay in lastes (up to date) replay of him – FT10 exhibition versus Ganondeurf’s Azwel.

Just as with Shen Yuan, I asked Habaduba to give me his own opinions about Haohmaru.


  1. The best backdash in the game
    It is the main reason to pick Haohmaru on the select screen
  2. Abundance of knockdowns and plus frames
    Can even get okizeme off of i14 punish!
  3. Very safe mixup options
    66B is a mid with a bunch of safe followups and while his 1A is arguably the worst 1A in the game, the rest of his lows are great bK is a fantastic fast 20 damage low and 1B is a bit slow but outstanding in every other regard
  4. Rage states
    Rage at low health makes his mixup really threatening and with access to an i14 CE he becomes quite unforgiving to the opponent. He can also enter an even more powerful rage state using meter and while this gets rid of his ability to enter rage ever again it helps him secure the key rounds
  5. Meter efficiency
    He has a lot of ways to combo into his CE’s with respectable scaling and that lets him close down games really easily at a cost of a bar of meter. There is also his Soul attack that can grant him rage, this is really strong if done early in the round
  6. Range
    A LOT of his moves reach further then you’d expect letting him stop movement really well
  7. Evasive jumping attacks
    44K and 421B Have absurd evasive properties letting Haohmaru get out of sticky situations by simply jumping over everything the opponent may throw at him
  8. High damage horizontal counterhits
    Haohmaru can get a lot of damage if he calls out a sidestep
  9. Flexible combo routes
    Be it okizeme, carry, damage or positioning he probably has a combo route to suit your needs


  1. Has to commit
    While his mixup is really safe, the same cannot be said about most of his horizontals, all of them put him close to the opponent with his fastest mid horizontals (i18 and i22) being punishable This coupled with inability to track at +8 with verticals means he cannot settle for otherwise low risk options when he has an advantage
  2. Reliance on movement
    Some of his best moves come out of sidestep and his backstep is key to winning the majority of his Matchups, that means he is easy to run counter
  3. Low damage outside of rage
    Without rage or meter Haohmaru really struggles to deal any substantial damage
  4. Extremely weak wallgame
    His wallcombos are really inconsistent and deal low damage, doing a wallsplat often means giving up damage and sometimes the walls can actually get in the way of optimal combos
  5. Weak guardbreaks
    Haohmaru is really good at hurting the opponents guard but when he ends up breaking it the reward is often low
  6. Inconsistency
    A bunch of his combos and okizeme depend on the range, character and the angles making it quite unpredictable
  7. Big body
    Haohmaru is large, this opens him to some bigger combos,better okizeme and makes his sidestep inconsistent
  8. Few moves
    Haohmaru doesn’t have many key moves so he uses the majority of his kit, however he does have a lot of simply useless moves, together with a low movescount it makes it hard to find the right tolls for many matchups
  9. Underwhelming Lethal hits
    2B+K and 66B+K are the worst Lethal hits with that condition in the game meaning that when he has rage, is in SC or has meter getting the LH’s is generally suboptimal 44B and 22B+K LH’s have unrealistic conditions and 623B as well as 44K are verry applicable but rather unrewarding.

I think Haohmaru was really strong (TOP5) before the patch where his + frames meant huge low risk mixups and getting those + frames is not an issue with Haohmaru, after the changes its hard to even say how he is supposed to play but he always has a lot of ways to turn a fight upside down.

And that’s it. Now, what do you think about Haohmaru? Is he hot take or hot garbage in your book?