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Arcana Heart 3/AH3/Nazuna Inuwaka
Nazuna is a zoning character. However, that is not the only reason to play her. Of the projectile heavy characters in the game, Nazuna has the longest ranged normals, which accents her zoning game greatly. She also has a pretty good overhead and crossup based mixup game once she gets in so she is an expert at controlling the flow of the match.
On the downside, Nazuna has a very large hitbox and no fully invulnerable attacks, making her an easy target for rushdown. While she does have some nice defensive tools such as good anti airs and clashing moves, she lacks the strong reversals that pretty much every other large character has.
Nazuna's average damage is also well below average. Nazuna CAN spend meter for damage, but more often than not it is a better idea to spend your meter on strong projectile based okizeme setups to fully utilize her strong mixup game.
The best arcana's for Nazuna help her sad defensive game. But anything that can fill holes in her zoning or okizeme game is also a great tool to have. Nazuna can use many arcana effectively so feel free to experiment. For those who do not want to experiment, feel free to go straight to the tried and tested combinations below.
Hands down the highest synergy arcana for Nazuna in AH3. Time backdash gives her a much needed defensive tool, which counts for a lot. Times Infinite Light super and EFC speed boost gives her a bunch of new combos she doesn't have otherwise that are great for setting up her dangerous okizeme. On top of that, since Nazuna's E attacks are fairly large, the timeclones are also strong, and timeball has limited use in neutral for her as well.
The main downside of Time is that learning optimal setups for all confirms can be fairly time consuming. Not recommended for a beginner, you can always pick it up after getting more familiar with the character's basics.
While Flower doesn't have backdash like time does, it DOES negate all counterhits. Perhaps not as universally useful as time backdash is, but in those matchups where you have to worry about being hit in strange situations this goes a long way. Having better meter generation and faster burst recovery also helps. Flowers regular projectile and super projectile are both good assets for Nazuna's zoning and okizeme game. In particular, since you won't be able to use any of the Time based setup, Flowers projectile super is a great way to force people to block on wakeup after your regular soft knockdowns.
Recommended beginner pick, also recommended for matchups where you don't get to use Time as much.
There is a few basic abstract levels to Nazuna's zoning game.
1) Make your opponent scared to approach with anti airs, ground to grounds, preemtive air-to-airs, and spacing specific projectile pokes that are hard to stop. 1.5) Learn what situations you can control your opponents approach in the same way, but with a projectile instead of having to risk a normal clash. Main ones you will be using on the fly are anti air 421C, 236A/B/C and x+BC charges vs grounded or low to the ground opponents.
2) Use the respect you've gained from step 1, to put out projectiles to gain a large advantage in neutral. Usually you want to put out a Bunny for safety and then move onto a projectile that can help you get in. Exactly what move you want to use will come with experimenting and practice, but here's a list of the ones I use the most. Bunny, Wolf, Arrows (421C), and Butterflies (Kaihou Nubatama, 641236+AB).
3) Always pay attention to your opponent. Some people will try to do crazy things to stop your zoning game, you need to be ready for that so you can force them to deal with it. For those that you get to block or get hit by your strong projectiles, go start up the good stuff!
Pressure and Mixup
Lows: 2A, 6A, 2C, 63214X
Highs: 667j.B, j7.C, 2C(2)
Backthrow is recommended for okizeme, however neutral grab is also good if you need a little extra damage or need to build meter.
Nazuna's only jump cancelable normal that is useful in pressure is 5B. This can make you somewhat transparent if you overuse it, so make sure to make use of lots of frame traps with 2C, 236A, 623A, kara 3BC, and anything else you can think of. Also make good use of EFC where you would normally want to jump cancel with a non jump cancelable normal, this is especially strong with Time due to the speed increase.
When in doubt, block it out. Since Nazuna doesn't have any reversals, you're going to need to get a feel for your opponents pressure. Once you do, your strongest options on defense is usually to anti air bad jumping pressure with 5A, 2B, and 5C clash into 236AB super. Once you get 2 meter, you can guard cancel certain slower moved on reaction with 4GC instant 236AB, and get a "guaranteed" punish. Versus opponents who respect your anti airs and stick to the ground, you can try to 4D or backdash their pokes, clash with 2C (if you have enough time), or poke out with 2A depending on what you think is best.
Of course if you are playing Time you should make use of the backdash, as well as any other arcana specific defensive tools you may have, such as Thunder or Earth charge E's.
Because Nazuna has so many powerful projectiles, being able to spam them would be silly. Every special and super Nazuna performs (with exception of arcana moves) costs a certain amount of Rei-Ryoku meter depending on the strength of the move. This meter recovers naturally over time, though there is a small recovery after using a move where it will not recover at all. If you consume the whole gauge, then it will turn red, and Nazuna can not only not use any specials or supers, but she will also lose her ability to chain normals. The only way to chain normals while exhausted is to enter EF, which is a temporary fix, still doesn't give you specials back either. Do not let your meter run out unless you will win with it, it's not worth it.
You will notice that the meter does not start out completely full, nor does it naturally completely refill. The last bit of the gauge is for overcharging. To overcharge, you can either use 28X and sacrifice some life, or hit with 63214X. Any specials used while overcharged, will gain a small increase in damage (10-15%). Since these moves also overcharge instantly, they are a good way to keep your meter up if you really have to.
Nazuna can kara certain specials, covered in more depth in part 2 of the combo guide. But there is one really important one that any Nazuna player should know. Fusumi's stance change (22x) can be kara'd into his charge attack (any side direction + BC). The one that you need to know for combos and pressure is 223C~B. Alternatively you can also do 223B~C, 33C~B, or 33B~C. This will put Fusumi into the standby stance that gives him less recovery, and then have him attack immediately. If you do this while he is already, then instead of going into the stance, then he will leave the stance.
Normally you want to bring Fusumi out of standby ASAP so that your Rei-Ryoku meter continues to regenerate normally, rather than at a slowed speed.
Since the videos pretty much cover everything from basic to advanced that is worth writing down I recommend watching them. For anything more specific, please refer to the Nazuna Subforum, or your could try asking on the #Examu channel on Mizuumi IRC.
Good anti-air, jump cancelable and wiffs crouchers. You want to use this move for anti-airing out of pressure because of it's speed, but also for stopping low to the ground approaches because of the area it controls. Go-to normal for anti-airing after an anti-air clash, that is, when you don't use a super instead.
Interesting heavy normal. Slower on startup, but neutral on block. This move is a good meaty, and a way to extend perssure. The main downside of this move is that it only chains from her other A normals.
Two hit jump cancelable normal. First hit is OK as a ground-to-ground poke at that range, though the long recovery can make it risky. Second hit is a nice anti-air, but comes out slow enough that it needs to be used preemptively. A good move, but use with caution when it's not guaranteed to connect.
Very interesting normal. This move has 2 main uses, the first use is to clash with the huge upper body clash on startup. The second use is as a horizontal poke that controls ground and low airspace. Be careful, while it may seem abusable, this move is very punishable on wiff.
Pretty standard 5E but with good range. Because it's a longer ranged air unblockable normal, you can catch people (especially in the corner) trying to jump with it easily.
Low jab, a little on the slow side but makes up for it with some extra range. Usually you will want to cancel (or delay cancel) this into another normal on block because of the bad recovery, but you can get away with it once they are used to the cancel pattern.
Great anti air. No sort of upper body invincibility, so make sure you get this move out ON TIME if you want it to win. Has some first frame upper body clash, but it doesn't last long enough to be useful to the timing required to anti air with this move. Usually you want to clash with 5C instead, but sometimes 2B might be safer if you can force the clash in a smaller window.
Sweep, followed by an overhead. This is your go-to move for mid range poking when you are worried about your opponents crouching under it as they can with 5C. The overhead is also advantage on block, so you can use this in pressure. Cancel the first hit into 63214x or with meter for a very basic high-low mixup.
Interesting anti-air that covers the area directly above Nazuna's head, but also in front of her. However be careful with this move, as the attack box in front of her is pretty weak, so you can easily be counterhit.
Basically 5A in the air, but a little faster. Good move for jumping up and winning in air-to-air situations where you need to be a little more aggressive than just sitting on the ground. Also Nazuna's fastest normal.
Big sweeping air normal that hits crossup first, then progressively sweeps around to one-o-clock. Obviously great for crossups, but if you want to use this move as a jumpin or air-to-air, you need to take into consideration the sweeping startup.
Good air-to-air, and can also function as a jump-in near the max range. Probably Nazuna's most reliable air-to-air because of it's speed, but it can be difficult to combo from properly.
Another interesting property to this move is that it recovers very fast. After wiffing or connecting this move, you can follow up given you have the space to. For example, you can set up a lazy meterless air tech punish after this move without having to land first.
Huge normal that knocks down. You can jump in and air-to-air with this, but air-to-airs need to be done early and jump-ins need to be done from far.
Pretty much useless outside of combos, but you can wiff chain j.C into it for some extra meter building. Be careful of auto-piloting that cancel outside of combos though, as it can lose you clash battles.
Like j.6B, this move also has little recovery, but it's not nearly as useful. This move also knocks down standing opponents, making it even worse.
Press any left or right direction and BC at the same time to execute this move. So anything other than 2, 5 and 8 will work. Fusumi does a charging attack in the selected direction from wherever he happens to be at the time. This move can deflect projectiles, and has reduced recovery while in standby mode. Cancels into Choujutsu Nuedori or Haitake on both hit and wiff. This move can be clashed, but cannot be absorbed by Love's projectile shield.
Good move for controlling low airspace in neutral, pretty low commitment as long as your opponent isn't too close.
NOTE: None of Nazuna's projectiles can be deflected, however, they can all be clashed. All projectiles also persist when Nazuna is hit, unless otherwise noted.
|Joujutsu・Makana 「杖術・真鉋」(Staff Art - Pure Wood) - 236A/B/C [Tap]
Consumes a chunk of Rei-Ryoku meter. Staff toss, the staff rotates a bit during the toss giving it a larger effective hit area. If you mash the button a couple times past the first input, you will spend additional Rei-Ryoku meter for a followup that does more damage and is safe on block at all ranges.
|Joujutsu・Tamakiwa 「杖術・魂極」(Staff Art - Soul Staff) - 63214A/B/C
Consumes a sliver of Rei-Ryoku meter. Cane scoop that hits low and is even on block. On hit, this move will lock the opponent and max Nazuna's Rei-Ryoku meter. After getting hit, your opponent can choose to either air tech, or ground tech.
|Juujutsu・Kagiroi 「獣術・陽炎」(Beast Art - Heat Haze) - 623A/B/C (Air OK)
Consumes a chunk of Rei-Ryoku meter. A series of charge attacks that moves Nazuna forward very fast with Hayata's headbutt. Can be used outside of combos as a very aggressive poke if you have meter to cancel it. However, this move is best in combos and sometimes pressure.
|Choujutsu・Nuedori & Choujutsu・Haitake 「鳥術・鵺鳥 ＆ 鳥術・鷂」 (Bird Art - Golden Thrush & Sparrow Hawk) - 22A/B/C
This will switch Fusumi in and out of Standby mode. In standby mode, Fusumi waits for the next commands in the location that you preformed the move. While in stand by, you recovery spirit meter much slower than usual.
|Choujutsu・Azusayumi 「鳥術・梓弓」 (Bird Art - Catalpa Bow) - 421A/B/C
Consumes a chunk of Rei-Ryoku meter, dissipates when hit.. Nazuna sends a blue orb that can hit to Fusumi, wherever he may be. If he is in the process of returning to Nazuna, he will stop for this move. Once the orb reaches Fusumi, he will fire a stream of blue arrows aimed at the opponent. You can hold down the button for as long as you would like by spending more Rei-Ryoku until Nazuna runs out of meter to make Fusumi keep shooting. He only aims at the very beginning, so sometimes holding this projectile is a necessary tactic vs opponents using homing.
|Choujutsu・Shirayumi 「鳥術・白真弓」 (Bird Art - Pure White Bow) - 214A/B/C
This move is a modified version of Azusayumi, also dissipates if hit. Instead of aiming at the opponent, Fusumi will only shoot directly to the left or right depending on positioning. As long as you hold this move, you can control the firing direction with the stick, hold up to move it up slowly, and down to move it down. These shots do more damage than the shots from Azusayumi.
Being forced to start shooting horizontally makes this move more situational than Azusayumi, however the ability to aim it is pretty useful vs opponents smart enough to make Azusayumi wiff. This move is pretty slow in AH3 making it even more limited use, but it has been made faster in AH3LM.
|Shoukan・Tenrou 「召喚・天狼」 (Heaven Wolf) - 641236A
Consumes a chunk of Rei-Ryoku meter. Nazuna's spirit wolves run all the way across the screen, and cannot be destroyed if clashed. Continues to hit periodically as it travels across the screen, so clashing this is actually a death wish. Great for basic okizeme and zoning when you have room to get it out.
|Shoukan・Gyokudo 「召喚・玉兎」 (Summon - Moon Rabbit) - 641236B
Consumes a chunk of Rei-Ryoku meter. Nazuna summons a spirit rabbit on the ground directly in front of her. Once summoned, bunnies will slowly hop backwards across the floor, up the side of the screen, then across the side of the screen until they reach the next wall, then they will dissipate. Unlike wolves, bunnies will go away when they are clashed, there is also a glitch that happens rarely where they can hit twice. You cannot use this move if there is already a rabbit on the screen (does not count enemy Nazuna rabbits).
|Shoukan・Suzubachi 「召喚・鈴蜂」 (Summon - Bell Bee) - 641236C
Consumes a small amount of Rei-Ryoku meter. Nazuna summons a spirit bee above her head that will sit stationary for a moment, then quickly charge all the way across the screen. This move will not hit most characters on the ground, however it can cause major problems for Cathy even on the ground. Due to the speed of this move being the same as Tenrou and Gyokudo, it is not really all that great other than the low meter cost. However, in AH3LM this move has been made a bit faster. Bees are unclashable.
|Reijutsu・Asatsuyu 「霊術・朝露」 (Spirit Art - Morning Dew) - 28A/B/C
Consumes a sliver of Rei-Ryoku meter. Nazuna sacrifices about 10% of her life to max the Rei-Ryoku meter instantly. 10% is a good chunk of life, so only use it when you really need it. Also be careful that you don't get this by accident while super jumping.
|Seijou・Masokagami 「聖杖・真十鏡」 (Holy Staff - Ten Pure Mirrors) - 236AB (Air OK)
Consumes a large amount of Rei-Ryoku meter. Super version of Joujustsu: Makana. Range hits somewhere between the A and B versions of Makana, the followup is also more powerful, always comes out, and is unsafe on block. What makes this super really good though, is that is has 0 frames of startup, meaining the first active frame is on frame 1. Great punishing move from anti-air clashes and 4GC's. Be careful in other situations though, as it can be clashed and wiff low profile moves, in addition to being unsafe on block.
Air version causes a groundbounce, while the ground version launches the opponent.
|Choujuu・Ioenami 「鳥獣・五百重波」 (Wildlife - Five Hundred Waves) - 214AB
Consumes a large amount of Rei-Ryoku meter. Nazuna calls Fusumi back from wherever he is (which takes him out of standby mode, if he happens to be in it), then sends him flying forward. If Fusumi connects, you enter a locked animation that does a good chunk of damage, and launches the opponent very high. The animation lasts long enough for the Rei-Ryoku meter to fully recover unless it was emptied by using the super. Because of the launch time, locking, meter recovery, and damage, this is a really good combo super for Nazuna. It's harder to combo into, but there's a number of situations where this is a great hitconfirm or punish.
Nazuna takes a small bit of self damage from the staff hitting her head.
|Kaihou・Nubatama 「解放・射干玉」 (Unleash - Complete Darkness) - 641236AB [tap]
Consumes a large amount of Rei-Ryoku meter, and goes away when hit. Summons a big butterfly which slowly floats and splits into small butterflies. Which then transform into multiple spirit animals just like Nazuna's Shoukan moves. To get the different versions of this move, you will have to tap A, B or C during the beginning, which can easily be done during the superflash. By default, you will always get the C version. If you accidentally press a different button during the summon selection, it takes the last input, so just press the correct button quickly.
Any summoned animals from Kaihou Nubatama will count as supers, so hitstun caused by them cannot be bursted.
|Fuujyu・Narukami 「封呪・鳴神」 (Seal Spell - Spirit Roar) - 632146AB [4 ･ 2 ･ 4 ･ 2 ･ 4 ･ 2 ･ 4 ･ 2 ･ 4 ･ AB]
Consumes all of Nazuna's Rei-Ryoku meter unless it is in the yellow, in which case it will consume nearly all of it. Locking super, hits overhead and is invincible. After hitting with the intial super, you must then complete the rest of the input properly to get the powerful followup. If you have a hard time remembering the directions required, it's simply 4, 2 repeated, starting and ending at 4, for a total of 9 directional inputs, followed by a second A+B. You do not need to return to neutral between inputs, but you cannot do it too fast or slow. Returning to neutral may make the timing more natural for you.
When this super wiffs entirely, or you fail to complete the entire input, Nazuna's incantation will backfire, causing both players to get hit by a debuff that slows movement and seals all specials for the duration. On the failure version, Nazuna will not regenerate any of her Rei-Ryoku meter, and her debuff will last much longer than your opponents. This is game changing, so never fail this input.
On success, only your opponent will get hit by the debuff and it will last much longer. Nazuna's Rei-Ryoku meter will also begin regenerating as soon as you complete the input, giving you your specials and chains back. The normal version does not do that much damage, but this is still one of the best Critial Hearts in the game because of the debuff.
In the Extend Force version of Fuujyu Narukami, Nazuna will create a giant wind scythe on her staff and slash for a huge amount of damage. Causes the same status effect, but unlike the normal version, this one can be air teched. If your combo into her EFXH is shorter, than you can get a quick hit in to extend your combo slightly in the corner.