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Onimaru 101

Hi everyone! After a long absence, I’ve put together a character guide for Onimaru, in video form.

If you have comments, questions, quibbles, let me know!


Going to use the rest of this thread to cover stuff that I kind of breezed past in the video, and get into match-up specific stuff.

Q: Why is Martial Law (AA) bad?

A: It’s not bad per se. 20 damage is 20 damage, after all. But there are a lot of factors that combine to make it one of the least played moves in Onimaru’s deck. It’s 1.4 speed, which means it loses to most other AA/AAA moves, and when one of Onimaru’s strongest tools is to turn combat losses into combat wins with Final Authority, AA looks even worse by comparison. So if you’re playing AA, you’re probably dodging into it in the mid or late game.

However, because of how useful a tool Oni’s A is in the early and early-mid game (where it both shuts down a lot of the cast’s big combo starters, and sets up strong normal/face mix-ups through the added damage for his face cards) you’ll tend to not accumulate many aces by the time Martial Law would be good to play. Also, because each of the cards in Oni’s deck play fairly specific roles, you will rarely find yourself valuing a single Ace over a pair of other cards. Dodges are probably Oni’s least valuable type of card since Final Authority means he always has the dominant speed attack in the late game, but I rarely find myself thinking “I’d rather have an Ace than these two dodges.”


This video was amazing @mysticjuicer , I for one am hoping it’s the first of many!

But if you want to talk about match-ups, there’s one in particular I’m very interested in, after watching your breakdown of Oni’s match-up spread. It’s one thing to say that his worst MU is deGrey (I think many players would agree, even if Argagarg is the conventional wisdom) but I felt like you went a lot further than that in downplaying how bad Oni/Arg is - even calling it “close to even” if I heard you right! So if you have secret Oni/Arg tech, please share!

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The secret to enjoying Onimaru vs Argagarg is to play a lot of Rook vs Argagarg. For reasons of psychological health, I do not recommend this approach to others.

One important caveat that I may not have emphasized as much in the video is that while the MU is bad for Onimaru, it doesn’t feel extremely bad. To me, it has the feeling of a difficult MU where there is still a lot of pressure on your opponent not to screw up. Mistakes on the Arg player’s side are very costly - each error costs him a flat fee of 15 to 20 HP, no exceptions.

The entire MU boils down to a dance around one combat reveal, where an Onimaru attack hits an Argagarg Ace block. So long as you as the Oni player are comfortable engaging with and playing around that risk, Argagarg has to deal with exactly the same oppressive Oni tools as every other character. There are several advantages you have against Argagarg that you do not have against DeGrey, and they are very important advantages: you are allowed to build a 13 card hand, and your combat losses (except for the Attack/Ace interaction) tend to cost you much less HP.

If I’m being charitable, I think that I am just much less comfortable and effective at mid-hand Onimaru than other players that prefer the Oni/DeGrey MU. If I’m being honest, I think they’re insane. But the feeling is probably mutual. :smile:


Some more specifics. Argagarg has two effective modes that they can play against Onimaru: they can play the expected attack/block range (aiming to catch an attack with their Ace block, and protect their blocks from throws with their pokes), and an aggressive throw/attack range. Both of these are actually very risky for them if they commit to either too much.

If they go for the classic attack/block, then Onimaru can play an extremely high dodge range. Essentially Oni says “I will give up on ever beating your Ace, and will instead punish every attack with a dodge into 20 damage.” Oni’s early game will consist of blocking until he has 13 cards, taking some damage from Hex, and then lots of jumping around. The conservative attack/block play loses to Onimaru’s conservative range here, in my opinion.

The answer to that, from Arg, is to largely give up on trying to Ace block (given that Onimaru is saying “I refuse to engage with that option at all”). Therefore, an anti-grappler range of attack/throw makes sense as an opener. The risk here is that Onimaru has extremely effective tools to deal with an attack/throw range, and Arg’s damage is not incredibly high. There are a lot of avenues for Arg to lose even with this approach: (1) Oni blocks too many attacks and gets to 13 cards with a relatively safe life total, (2) Oni attaches single A and catches Arg with Qs in neutral, (3) Oops! I Hit With A Ten, (4) this aggressive play tends towards low hand size which means Arg will not reliably have access to an Ace block.

So the whole MU kind of boils down to a big metaphorical coin-flip for both players, but I think the psychological pressure often falls on the Arg player because of how many combat wins they need to achieve. As Onimaru, I recognize that I will probably lose, and that can reduce the pressure on me. I also recognize that the match will probably come to a pure 50/50 scenario, and so I’m not disappointed or angry if that happens.

…I also have good counterpicks to Arg if I lose, so I’m not putting the added pressure of “I HAVE TO PROTECT MY STATUS AS A ROOK MAIN” on the line, which was definitely the case previously. And I like grindy MUs, so I take a perverse pleasure in playing Oni vs Arg.



“I’ll just throw him, he’s been holding down-back forever.”
Onimaru, playing a single A:

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It is. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(That said, I enjoy your breakdown and tips on that particular matchup.)

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Finally watched the full video, and I feel real called out by the admonitions not to dump Ks early.


Don’t feel too attacked - it’s something that I’ve started trying to be more mindful of in my matches, which is why I was so emphatic about it. :slight_smile: