Hi guys, I saw that there’s a couple “beginner” threads, but (and I mean no offense by this), I don’t think huge lists of all the moves, properties and combos are actually helpful to beginners. The information in those threads is definitely great to have, but I think what we still need is more of a description of what you need to do as Hwoarang: what your strategy is, what your goals in the match are, and what tools you have to make those happen. To begin with, this will just be a list of my thoughts. I will try to refine it into something more like a guide over time. Suggestions, additions, and whatever are completely welcome.
This writeup is intended for Hwoarang beginners, but assumes you are familiar with the system and comfortable with learning links and hit confirms.
FLAMINGO STANCE OFFENSE
I was really surprised to see that there’s a lot of people here that seem to think flamingo stance is useless. This could not be more wrong; flamingo is literally the cornerstone of Hwoarang’s entire offense. Your primary goal as a Hwoarang player is to get in your opponent’s face in flamingo stance and use it to pressure him. Why?
- Flamingo stance has the fastest attacks that hit with good range (LP 3 frames, LK 4 frames). Most of your opportunities to frame trap and lock your opponent down involve flamingo stance
- Any string from flamingo stance that ends in a special move will keep you in flamingo stance, preserving offensive momentum (in particular air raid and dynamite heel since these give the most frame advantage)
- Once you convince your opponent to sit still, flamingo stance can be instantly cancelled by tapping down or jumping. This can be followed up by command overheads, throws, jump-ins, crossups, etc. depending on range.
The simplest way to start flamingo offense is to chain c.LP>MK>MK and hold forward. This leaves you at enough advantage so you can combo into flamingo LK>MK. The full series combos on hit, and on block it cannot be interrupted by anything nor jumped out of. In short, the only thing your opponent can do is block or do something with invincibility frames (all of which you have ways to punish). In the beginning, you will get lots of counterhits with the flamingo LK>MK, because there is a delay that looks deceptively like an opening. This is great because you can confirm the hit into QCB+K, or a super or tag super for big damage. Thus a sample offensive string is:
crossup j+MP, c.LP>MK>MK~f, opponent blocks all that, tries to retaliate and is interrupted by FLA LK>MK>QCB+2K (wall bounce), tap d, HK>QCB+HK
This is fairly safe offense that leads to big damage. Eventually your opponent will learn to sit still and block. At this point you confirm the blocked FLA LK>MK and cancel to DP+LP>HCB+LP instead of QCB+2K (cancel the DP+LP as fast as possible to make sure it stays a blockstring). Now note that the dynamite heel gives +1 frame advantage but pushes them out somewhat. If you are not in flamingo stance, it is incredibly difficult to take advantage of this because of the range. However, since we got there by doing FLA LK>MK>DP+LP>HCB+LP, Hwoarang will automatically cancel the heel into flamingo and you can again follow up with another FLA LK>MK. Exactly as before, if they blocked the dynamite heel, they cannot interrupt you or jump out, and instead must block or reverse.
You have the same situation as above, and the same hit confirm available to you. You can do several repetitions of blocked flamingo LK>MK>DP+LP>HCB+LP in a row, pinning your opponent down until you are ready to trick him by cancelling the flamingo stance (tap d) and then either doing a command overhead (f+MK or f+HK), slow low (db+LK to trick people who are good at blocking overheads) or walk-throw or jump in for a crossup j.MP which you can continue with more offense. f+HK results in a ground bounce that you can follow with c.MP>QCB+K. db+LK can be cancelled into QCB+K, or linked into c.LP combos.
Eventually, if you continue this, you will be pushed out of range (unless you have cornered them, then you can keep it up forever). Then to close the range, you can instead cancel flamingo LK>MK into HCF+LK (opponent can anti-air) or DP+LP dash a little longer (this is not a tight blockstring). The air raid will also give you advantage on block, and since you did it from a flamingo string, it will end in flamingo as well. Depending on their anti-air (i.e. if its a shoryuken or something) you can trick them by doing HCF+MK to sail over them then punish the whiff. You can also just jump out of flamingo into a crossup. As with all characters, immediately after a crossup, jump-in, or divekick your mixup options are the strongest due to point-blank range. You can go straight for a throw, QCB+LK (to beat throw techs), overhead, or keep them in blockstun with the standard c.LP>MK>MK into confirmed combo or flamingo mixups.
If all you are doing is blocked flamingo LK>MK>DP+LP>HCB+LP over and over, your opponent will eventually try to escape by either reversing with a dragon punch or super or something, or backdashing out of it (backdash won’t work if they are cornered). Either block the reversal and punish, or sweep them out of the backdash recovery. Then use wakeup games to re-establish your flamingo offense. If your opponent is able to escape by jumping out or interrupting you, then get into practice mode and work on tightening up your timing.
There are many other ways to set up flamingo offense, both from itself and from outside. Look at the other flamingo cancellable strings and experiment with them. It is possible to put together a very strong offense with just the moves I have mentioned here, but you will be harder to defend against if you add more variety. Just like in Tekken, Hwoarang can use a basic offense repeating the same default 50/50 guessing games over and over, but he becomes more potent when you mix it up with other stuff to make it harder for your opponent to follow what you are doing. Even something as minor as adjusting the chains to add or subtract the number of blocked hits between setups can throw off your opponent’s defensive timing.
An example of what I am talking about, is stringing together flamingo mixups, it is harder for your opponent to react to normal stance strings. For example, in a situation where you are in flamingo stance and your opponent is expecting FLA LK>MK confirm, you can instead do d+LP>MP>LP or d+LP>MP>c.HK. The d cancels the flamingo, and he is less ready to react to the overhead/sweep mixup. In normal circumstances, a good player can always block correctly the sweep or overhead because of the differences in timing. But if you are changing things up between many different types of setups, it is harder for your opponent to watch the timing.
Hwoarang has fast walk speed and formidable footsies tools. Your primary focus in footsies should be to either knock your opponent down and do wakeup games, or stifle him so you can walk in to c.LP>MK>MK or a jump-in crossup and start flamingo offense.
Your default should be to stand ready just outside of contact range and ready to punish anything your opponent does. Your best whiff punishers are c.HK (long range and a hard knockdown for wakeup games) or MP>HP which can be hit confirmed into a launch for a tag combo. The sweep has more range, the punch string has more damage. Which you use depends on range and your opponent. Practice using your fast walk speed to bait your opponent into whiffing stuff you can punish. If your opponent jumps in, be ready to punish with DP+LK or QCF+MP+MK. You can then either do wakeup games, or tag in your partner to juggle.
It is tempting to poke your opponent with MP or c.HK. This is ok, but be very sparse with this. You can’t just count on random counterhits all the time, and the risk is very high (if they jump over it they get a full jump-in combo). Hwoarang is not the kind of guy that just randomly pokes the opponent a lot from range in my opinion. Focus on either punishing whiffs, punishing jump-ins, or walking up or jumping in and starting offensive mixups if your opponent hesitates. A more appropriate poke is QCB+LK, which is done from closer range and helps hide when you finally intend to come all the way. You can also DP+P dash into it to poke from further away. Conversely, if your opponent likes to poke back at you with sweeps, you can bait and punish with b+MK>QCB+K. If they do nothing, the b+MK won’t cancel and is pretty safe because it backs you out of range. But if they do poke and you get the hit, you’ll cancel into hunting hawk for big damage.
You can also attempt to get in with HCF+K which punishes fireballs at nearly any range and gives advantage on block. Be careful though, if your opponent meets you in the air you will lose. Also, on hit you do not get advantage and since you didn’t do it from a flamingo string you will not be in flamingo stance afterwards either. Do remember that air raid can be steered a lot in the air, so use this to bait whiffed dragon punches so you can punish.
Hwoarang has strong wakeups, owing to the fact that in most cases even if your opponent guesses right, you can still confirm into flamingo offense. Off a hard knockdown you can crossup with j.MP or confuse your opponent with non-crossup j.LP>j.MP, following up with c.LP>MK>MK. At this point you should be able to confirm a hit. If it hit, finish the chain with d+LK>HK>(super, tag super, or QCB+K). If not, hold f to cancel into flamingo and continue with FLA LK>MK, confirming again to continue flamingo pressure. If you think your opponent will roll, instead jump back to where the roll ends and do an ambiguous j.MP into the same options.
Another option is to stand just slightly back from the opponent’s body. From here you can still jump back to follow a rolling opponent with j.MP. If he does not roll, you can do a meaty f+MK, f+HK or db+LK. f+MK and f+HK are overheads. The latter produces a ground bounce which can be followed with c.MP>QCB+K, but it’s not safe and puts a stop to your offense if your opponent guesses correctly. f+MK requires a difficult link to combo off of, but is faster and cancels into flamingo on block for continued offense. Personally, I still use f+HK for the ease of use, perhaps that will change with practice. db+LK can link to c.LP>MK>MK for your standard confirm/offense. If you’re not comfortable with the link you can instead cancel it into QCB+K, but this will not give you a confirm to continue offense if they guess right. The reason to start your lows with this move is that the startup looks more similar to the overheads and is thus more confusing to your opponent.
Hwoarang has deceptively effective overheads. They may not feel like it to you, because they are as slow or slower than anyone else’s overheads, but try being on the receiving end sometime, they are very difficult to block. This is because the startup animation is very subtle, and also looks similar to db+LK. The difficulty of blocking an overhead is more based on its animation than its startup time.
Another 50/50 you can use if you don’t believe they will reverse or roll is throw/hunting hawk. A meaty QCB+LK will cleanly beat any throw escape, either standing or low-teching, and is safe on block. This mixup is also viable in any point-blank situation while doing jump-in mixups.
These three concepts tie together Hwoarang’s game. Learn to use your footsies to set up your flamingo offense or score knockdowns for your wakeup game, and you can build a very offensive Hwoarang playstyle. Following are some sample bread and butter combos to practice, pieces of these can be mixed and matched, so I won’t bother listing out everything. The parts in bold should be hit confirmed. All hunting hawks and skyrockets can be tagged for juggles.
j.LP>j.MP, c.LP>MK>MK>f, FLA LK>MK>QCB+2K, tap d, HK>QCB+HK
db+LK, c.LP>MK>MK>f, FLA LK>MK>HCB+3P
If you’re not going to spend meter, try to end every combo with QCB+HK because it prevents quick rising and gives better wakeup games.