Samurai Shodown 3/Haohmaru

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覇王丸, Haohmaru


Thanks to his training under Nicotine Kafuin, Haohmaru is a bona fide b-ball prodigy with a keen eye for three pointers and a propensity for slam dunks. Neither of these things really lend themselves to sword duels, but he makes it work anyways.

Haohmaru, the face of the Samurai Shodown franchise, appears once again with all the classic Haohmaru buttons, Haohmaru damage and Haohmaru simplicity you know him for. With a solid projectile in Senpuu Retsuzan and a great DP in Kogetsuzan, he's strong and very familiar, making him great to learn the game with if you're just getting started.

Slash lets Haohmaru control space with his air specials, which he can do from a backdash in true SNK fashion. His toolkit opens up some fairly basic yet rewarding combos, with even the shortest backhit string ending in Zankousen for huge damage. He gets pretty far on basic honest SamSho gameplay, even in a game that tends to reward far sillier strategies. Slash’s struggles are due purely to his overall honesty, but his funky space control gives him just enough spice to hang with the rest of the crowd.

Bust loses the good longer range neutral tools from his other Technique, instead becoming SamSho 3’s most infamous gorilla, gaining numerous moves that handily outshine Slash in offensive potential. Chief among them are the completely stifling Senpuu Ha and Gou Ha, both of which are terrors in close range footsies and staples in his infamous combo game to boot. If you want to not think and play the best character in the game, Bust is the way to go.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Overall very easy to pick up and be effective with
  • Slash has some of the best space control in the game
  • Bust only needs one hit to win
  • His simplicity requires some creativity to prevent him from becoming too linear
  • Slash really only has access to scary damage from back hits
  • Bust won't make you any friends if you play him


Damage taken Rage rate Rage duration Throw startup Deflect advantage Deflect disadvantage modifier
105% 98.05% 4 sec 14f +23 ±0

Normal Moves

Far Slashes

  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - A fairly standard poke with nice range. Doesn't hit very high up, though, and doesn't lead to much on hit, either.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable, cancelable
  • (Description) - More or less Haohmaru's best button. A sword stab with great speed for its range. Great for space control with Slash -- round-ending for Bust.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - The Big Haohmaru Slash. Doesn't quite have the range that it has in other games, and the non-existence of recoil canceling hurts this for zoning, but 5B suits those purposes better anyway. Nice for finishing some combos if you can squeeze it in, though. It is a SamSho heavy slash, after all.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - Kind of like 5A but lower to the ground. Not bad, but not great, either.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable, cancelable
  • (Description) - Basically 2A but slightly slower and with a special cancel. Not awful for poking with by any means, but 5B generally serves your purposes here better.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - Big upward swing. Would be alright for anti-air if it weren't so slow.

Near Slashes

  • (Properties) - Air unblockable
  • (Description) - A quick jab with the hilt of the sword. Quick, not deflectable and fairly safe.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable cancelable
  • (Description) - Kind of looks like a mini-5C. Very useful in combos. Just be wary of the point blank blind spot against characters with thin hurtboxes -- chiefly Nakoruru.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - Big downward sword slash. You've got better buttons to be pushing at this range, to be honest.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable
  • (Description) - Basically a crouching n.5A.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable
  • (Description) - Much like the far version, it's n.2A but a bit stronger. No cancels here, but this forms a huge part of Haohmaru's back hit combos.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - Exactly the same as 2C.


  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - Standard hopping overhead. Slow to start up, but nice range. Punishable on stand hit, but slightly plus on crouch hit.
  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - Similar to the armed version. Faster to start up, about even on crouch hit. Suuuuuuper punishable on stand hit.


  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, cancelable
  • (Description) - A little roundhouse kick. Actually has two hitboxes -- the first is quite high up, making it very useful for anti-air. The second hitbox can see some use in combos, but it's not very common.
  • (Properties) -
  • (Description) - A low toe kick. Decent range, but more or less outclassed by 2D.
  • (Properties) -
  • (Description) - This move is really good. It's plus on block, and quite easily combos into itself and 623S. Basically the button you want to be pushing at close range.
  • (Properties) -
  • (Description) - Sliding low kick. Knocks down on hit. Can be useful for catching people off guard at range.

Jumping Normals

  • (Properties) - Air blockable
  • (Description) - Quick horizontal slice in the air. Decent range, alright for air-to-air if you expect the opponent to push a button.
  • (Properties) - Air blockable, deflectable (low height)
  • (Description) - Much the same as j.A, but slightly stronger. Can be deflected if performed low enough to the ground.
  • (Properties) - Air blockable
  • (Description) - Big downward slash. Is terrible at hitting people at the same height as you in the air, but pretty nice for jumping in with.
  • (Properties) - Air blockable
  • (Description) - Quick jumping kick with a nice downward angle. Can cross up and thus lead to a back hit combo.

Dashing Normals

  • (Properties) - Air unblockable
  • (Description) - A dashing punch with nice range. Not worth much on front hit, but has about a year of hitstun on back hit, making it an excellent cross-under anti-air.
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable, cancelable
  • (Description) - Dashing slash. Slash has a hard time using this since nothing he has really combos into it, but this is the button that helps Bust keep his infinite going.
  • (Properties) - Unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - Big upward slash. Haohmaru doesn't really get a whole lot of use out of his unblockable, but it's nice to have.
  • (Properties) -
  • (Description) - Running version of 3D. Much like 3D, good for catching people off guard in the neutral.

Unarmed Normals

  • (Properties) - Air unblockable
  • (Description) - Basically like 66A but standing still. Okay range, pretty good on hit, slightly unsafe on block.
  • (Properties) -
  • (Description) - Same deal as u.5S but crouching.
  • (Properties) -
  • (Description) - It's literally just u.2S but in the air. Not bad for an air-to-air, but those aren't super safe in this game so pick your spots.
  • (Properties) -
  • (Description) - Running u.5S. So, uh, 66A?

Command Moves

「Gatotsu」- n.5C~C (Bust Only)
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable, cancelable
  • (Description) - Target combo. Second hit only comes out if the first hit connects. Second hit can be cancelled into special moves, making this move devastating if you have a strong punish opportunity.
「Hien」 - 2C~C (Bust Only)
  • (Properties) - Air unblockable, deflectable
  • (Description) - Haohmaru follows up 2C with 5C. Much like Gatotsu, the second hit only comes out if the first connects. This hits like a freight train -- it'll most likely kill if you use it after a stun.

Special Moves


- 「Senpuu Retsuzan」 - 236S
  • (Description) - Haohmaru's classic tornado projectile. Slow to start up, but covers a good amount of space and is relatively safe. Neither technique really uses this too much -- Slash has much better zoning tools while Bust would much rather unga bunga his way into close range -- but you can't really go amiss if you're looking for something to do at further ranges.
Bust Only: If Senpuu Retsuzan connects, it causes a juggle state. This can let him get pretty much any followup he wants, usually between Kogetsuzan, Senpuu Ha restand, or WFT.
- 「Kogetsuzan」 - 623S (also from dash)
  • (Description) - It's a Dragon Punch, alright. Mostly used in combos from 2D, but the light and medium versions both come with a good amount of invincibility (light moreso) for use as an anti-air or a reversal. The dashing version has no invincibility, but has a ton of forward movement, making it useful as a situational whiff punisher or preemptive anti-air from further ranges.


- 「Resshinzan」 - 421S
  • (Description) - Haohmaru flips forward, coming down with his sword, slamming it into the ground. This hits overhead, but its slow speed prevents it from really being used as a mixup tool, and Slash Haohmaru really doesn't want to be in the close range without a specific goal in mind, anyway. Normally knocks down on hit, but when spaced just so the tip of the move hits, it will deal no damage, but instead cause the opponent to stumble backwards, giving you a chance to hit them for free -- this is key in his back hit combos.
- 「Hishou Senpuu Retsuzan」 - j.236S
  • (Description) - Haohmaru sends out a Senpuu Retsuzan but from the air. Despite chicken blocking largely beating this, it's basically the crux of your entire neutral game in Slash -- cancelling a backdash into the C version of this move gives you one of the most irritating zoning tools in the game. Using this to keep people out and generally frustrate them is one of the best options you can take in most situations. Even if you never fully connect with it, you're forcing the opponent through a jungle gym of projectiles, and any slip-up from them will give you all the time in the world to reposition. Abuse liberally.
- 「Hishou Resshinzan」 - j.214C
  • (Description) - Essentially like the normal version of Resshinzan but performed from the air. On hit it causes the opponent to stumble like a spaced out ground Resshinzan, however the fact that it has to be performed from the peak of a jump (or a backdash) relegates it only to niche combos or massive punishes.
- 「Zankousen」 - 63214C
  • (Description) - The Stupid Slash. Relatively quick startup, but HUGE recovery. While you're certainly not going to be using this much in the neutral (unless you have an insane read), this is your back hit combo ender of choice thanks to its beefy damage and how easily you can combo into it on backturned opponents.
- WFT「Tenha Fujinzan」 - 623623AB
  • (Description) - Yeah, it's a double DP motion. I suppose it makes sense.
    This WFT is, unfortunately, a bit hard to use, as it has short range, low damage (for a WFT anyway), and tends to let opponents fall out midway through if you're not as close to them as possible. That being said, it's very quick, has a decent invulnerability window, and generally quite useful to Slash Haohmaru if you can get it off -- since many of this game's characters have far more threatening combo games in more places compared to him, being able to knock the opponent's weapon out of their hands is a huge boon for him. Its most consistent use is arguably in round-ending chip situations, but even that is a gamble. Them's the SamSho breaks.


- 「Senpuu Ha」 - 236D
  • (Description) - Haohmaru fights dirty, flinging some pocket sand into his opponent's eyes. While not a projectile (in spite of its appearance), it is a very quick attack with good range and a generous active window, making it very effective in footsies. It deals no damage, but causes the opponent to stumble backwards on hit, giving you an opportunity to follow up for free. This naturally makes it the core of his front hit infinite combo.
    By the way, did we mention that it's an overhead?
- 「Gou Ha」 - 623D (can be used unarmed)
  • (Description) - The revered God Shoulder makes its first appearance here, honed from years of street rules b-ball. It's ostensibly Bust Haohmaru's primary combo tool, comboing from a good number of his pokes or even a Senpuu Ha thanks to its lightning fast startup. It sets up a juggle state on hit for an easy Kogetsuzan juggle, WFT, or potentially a restand for even more combos. This all sounds fine and dandy, but it really shines as a combo part when you get a back hit, as it sets up an extremely easy restand loop.
- 「Nagi Yaiba」 - 2146C
  • (Description) - This is a strange counter and proximity move all in one. Haohmaru holds his hands out, briefly gaining upper body invincibility. If the opponent is close enough (through sticking out a hurtbox or otherwise), he'll counter with a Kogetsuzan. This move, much like Gou Ha, also sets the opponent up for a juggle state, giving you an easy Kogetsuzan, WFT or restand follow-up. The restand is almost always preferred here, as it's incredibly consistent and leads to his infinite.
- WFT「Tenha Dankuu Retsuzan」 - 641236CD
  • (Description) - Haohmaru launches the opponent into the air, following them into the skies before coming down with a slam dunk that has broken more than a few hoops in the past. Incredibly fast, combos from just about everything, does nice damage. If not for the fact that he had infinites out the wazoo, this would be a really important part of Bust Haohmaru's gameplan. That being said, if you have it and know it will kill, you may as well use it for style points.


While Haohmaru is generally able to play a fairly patient neutral game focused on using his pokes and movement to find openings for damage, how he goes about doing so differs greatly between Slash and Bust.


After landing 623B (usually after a 2D hit confirm), you can make a read on whether the opponent will try to back roll. If they do, you can circle step as they get up, which will place you in front of them when they wake up. Any well-timed attack from here will be unblockable, because SamSho 3.


With so much of Slash's neutral game focusing on backdash j.236C, which covers a great angle and travels full screen, Slash Haohmaru can initially be seen as a projectile zoner. And while he certainly can get a lot of mileage out of this particular playstyle, his zoning isn't especially damaging, so the main thing he really wants to do with his zoning is frustrate people into coming into his space with unsafe approach options. From here, you only need to call out one badly placed button with a circle step or dash under 66A to get a powerful back hit combo that can end the round, or at least bring you closer to doing so.

His mixup and okizeme options are lacking, of course, but with a reasonably strong reversal, an abusable 2D and an extremely consistent way to reset to neutral with backdash j.236S, Haohmaru has great ways to play defense and help him get back to the neutral game where he can continue whittling away at his opponent's patience.


While Slash wants to carefully manage space and frustrate people into coming to him, Bust wants to get the hell in, and by lord is he gonna make it hurt when he does.
For what he lacks in overall neutral options, he more than makes up for with the ability to just end the opponent's life in one touch. In the neutral, your goal is to find a hit with 5B -- this is the key to victory, as a 5B will easily combo into 236D, giving you an easy infinite that just ends the round right there.
Up close, Bust gets to pressure people with his frankly unfair mixups -- 2D is still a very abusable low that can combo into 236D if your timing is good, and still functions as a hard-to-see mixup if your timing isn't so good. Bust Haohmaru really doesn't have to work too hard to get hits in, but he is arguably the best in the game at making those hits count.



2D confirm combo: 2D 2D 2D 623B

  • vs crouching Basara: using 2D more than twice will cause the 623B to whiff

Being able to link out of a fairly abusable low kick is nice for Haohmaru to have, and lets him score a knockdown if he doesn't find himself in one of the rare situations where he can't combo 2D into itself enough times to get a stun. You can use 623C instead of 623B for more damage, but the final hit of 623C has a propensity to whiff.

Corner stun combo: 2D(x8)

You need to be very close for this to work, so it's almost exclusively used as a throw follow-up in the corner.


Back hit BnB: n.2B (n.2B) 5B xx 421A, 5B xx 63214C
This is mainly what you'll be doing after most of your circle steps. Simple and effective, with some nice damage courtesy of Zankousen. The second n.2B requires a microwalk, and you must walk forward some to get 5B to connect, but you have a lot of time to do so.

Cross-under anti-air stun combo: 66A n.2B n.2B 5C
This is your most reliable (and most devastating) combo from a cross-under anti-air. Each n.2B requires a microwalk, but the timing isn't too strict. This stuns, so killing the opponent after landing this is easy.

Back hit corner loop: n.2B [5B xx 421A]xN
Mostly used from back throws if you put your opponent into the corner. Make sure to walk up between each rep. This combo is pretty easy. Feel free to spice it up with a Zankousen if it'll get you the kill.


Front hit loop: ...236D [66B xx 236D]xN
The starters for this are endless. 5B, n.5B and 236A all work. Make sure to slightly delay the cancel from 66B to 236D so you don't accidentally get God Shoulder.

Nagi Yaiba follow-up: n.5B xx 236D, [66B xx 236D]xN
I mean, you can follow-up Nagi Yaiba with 623S or WFT, but why would you when the restand is so easy?

Back hit loop: [n.2B 5B 623D]xN
n.2B is an easy restand from 623D from here. If your opponent is in the corner, throw in another microwalk n.2B.

Unreactable mixup "combo": 2D 236D
Timing the link from 2D to 236D, while possible, is quite difficult. Probably about as difficult as switching your block from low to high trying to deal with this combo that is also a really stupid 50/50. Further screw with their timing by varying how many 2D reps you do. Or possibly delay the 236D. Worth keeping in your back pocket.

Situational max Rage ToD: cross-up j.C 2C~C
Y'know. Just in case.

Samurai Shodown 3

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