It's time to buyken! The "Unfaltering Awakened Samurai" has arrived in Guilty Gear -Strive- and there's two big reasons to pick up this character!
On January 24th, leaks flooded the internet of the awaited new character in the anime fighter Guilty Gear -Strive-. These leaks however were not from a datamine, or even a shaky cellphone video, but rather a collaboration event with Honey & Butter, that went live early, advertising their Guilty Gear themed macarons. The first mistake was clearly entrusting this powerful information to such a delicious treat.
Soon after, Arc System Works (Arcsys) released the official trailer, but not before screenshots had already made their way across social media. The dam had broken! The Unfaltering Awakened Samurai was to be released January 28th!
If you are unfamiliar with the Guilty Gear series you are probably asking yourself, “Who even is this?” and “Those are some BIG reasons to be interested!?” And you would be absolutely correct! Baiken is one of the most popular characters in the series, for “various reasons,” who forces her opponent to play her game with a mix of longer normal attacks and counters! This gameplay style also made her one of the least played characters compared to her popularity. As a proper counter game plan usually requires a deeper than face value knowledge of the moves that other characters can use, Arcsys has greatly simplified her counter system in this new iteration, and the two biggest reasons to be interested in Guilty Gear -Strive- Baiken are her new moves Kabari (s) and Kenjyu.
While Kabari is not necessarily a new move for this veteran character, it can be performed by hitting slash (S) or heavy slash (HS) which correspond to triangle and circle on the playstation controller respectively. The HS version is her more traditional take on the move that sends a claw across the screen and can be followed with a quick Dashing strike.
The S version however, sends out a bell that tethers you and your opponent together. This tether can also be applied by using Baiken’s universal grab as well adding to her mix up or should I say tie up potential. Even blocking her Kabari S will still allow the rope to be attached!
The properties of the tether act more like a rubber band as the greater the distance between the two, the more you are pulled back together creating combo scenarios that would normally be impossible. This move however comes with an equal risk of being stuck in their face as well! I can hear Potemkin (the resident grappler) players rubbing their hands and licking their lips anytime I meet one in ranked!
Now her other major change is the addition of a whole new super move! Super moves are big flashy attacks that usually cost some kind of meter to stop their constant use. In previous games, Baiken had a 3 slash combo that has all sorts of flare to it and is usually her go-to combo ending attack, called Tsurune-sanzu Watashi, which does make a return in true “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” fashion. Her second super is the ancient samurai sword technique of GUN. That’s right! Baiken pulls out a blunderbuss and blasts off a shell of fireworks that do a fair amount of chip damage (damage received while blocking) and showing of the power of particle effects in the -Strive- engine. This move can also be performed in the air causing Baiken to fire the projectile at an angle.
After about an hour of experimenting with Baiken in training mode, or “in the lab,” and running roughly 15 ranked matches with her I can confidently say they kept the character in tact for the most part. I am upset they removed pretty much all of her counter follow ups in favor of a standard throw, but her new grab command counter does offer great combo potential to capitalize on making it an even trade objectively. Especially when you Roman Cancel (netered animation canceling) to lengthen your combos after the grab lands.
Baiken is one of my favorite characters to play in older games, and who’s release has put me back into a fighter that I had taken a break from honestly. Is she for everyone? No, but I also think she is the strongest addition out of the 4 DLC characters we have so far. She also has a much different samurai style to Nagoriyuki if he did not click for you. I highly recommend checking out Baiken available on Ps4, Ps5, and PC now. It is time to buyken!.