Garou: Mark of the Wolves/Hokutomaru/Strategy

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Basic Strategy

Hokutomaru has a very strong air game thanks to his double jump, air specials, air target combos, and the fact that all of his air normals can cross up. His jump-ins are also good at beating 2AB attacks. Be very careful of the fact that Hokutomaru cannot air JD after using his double jump!

His weakness starts to show when he is put on the defensive as he has low health, low guard durability, mediocre guard cancel options, and his only invincible reversal (236236B) costs meter, has low range, and is extremely punishable on block.

Hokutomaru's go-to options for guard cancels are 236B (11f, + on block when braked and can be comboed after) or 236236K (1/0F, invincible). Both have very limited horizontal range.

When punishing the opponent's whiffed/blocked attacks, c5D is preferred (fastest normal & meterless combos) but 5A is often the most reliable as it has the same startup whether it's close or far and leads to good combos if you have the meter for 236236P.

In terms of anti-air, Hokutomaru's best bet is to use his 3B, air throw, or to cross under the opponent with his fast run. In some matchups (Terry, Tizoc, [fill in others]) 3B's low profile can render it completely immune to the opponent's air normals, making it very oppressive to deal with.

His shurikens (236P) are his most useful special to use in neutral. He can quickly throw out single shurikens by tiger-kneeing them (2369P) or throwing one out of a backdash. They are easy to the opponent to JD for free health but otherwise are a low-risk option that can benefit Hokutomaru in various ways:

  • Chasing behind a shuriken that the opponent has to deal with lets Hokutomaru more easily approach, plus if it hits he can combo off of it.
  • Even if the opponent is JDing your shurikens and healing, they aren't able to contest space in neutral as freely.
  • Can score a combo on reaction to a counterhit.
  • Throwing shurikens obviously builds meter.
The grounded shurikens have more recovery than the low aerial versions, so they are sadly not too useful in comparison.

Hokutomaru is very good at pressuring his opponent in the corner thanks to his ability to repeatedly feint cancel his c5D and dash in for another c5D. Although this can technically be an infinite, with human hands it is best to keep it to a couple repetitions and implement mixups alongside it.

Hokutomaru is excellent at crossing up shorter characters with hop B as they wake up from a hard knockdown. It's even possible to just barely cross over his opponent and hit them in the back before immediately being pushed back in front, hitting crossup but landing sameside. The frame advantage from the early hop hit is not good, so the only possible combos in this situation are with 236236K. See a demonstration here.

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