Most Similar To: Rose, Ibuki, Firebrand (Marvel vs. Capcom 3)
Strengths: Omen is well balanced between an unpredictable zoning game, a strong footsies game, and a difficult to block left-right mixup game that can begin from the air or the ground. He can make unsafe moves safe (or turn them into mixups) at the cost of one shadow meter stock, allowing him to keep his approaches varied and slippery. He is allowed to hold three stocks of shadow meter, which allows him much more freedom of utility; rarely is Omen caught without meter for a shadow counter or surprise mixup, and all his enders feed meter back into his engine.
Weaknesses: Omen's enders are used primarily for setups (and to keep his meter high); his lack of a true damage ender, shadow or otherwise, makes it difficult to instigate comebacks from just one opening. Shadow Form is a good wakeup option with meter, even though it's only for avoidance, but his only option without meter is LP Orda Shield, an invincible move with an unreliable hitbox. His slow, floaty jump can be canceled into dashes, which is great for mixups but hurts his approach against characters that easily control air space.
Best Counter-Breaker Combos
0 Meter: MP double > HP double > LP double > MP double > HP double > Furious Flurry ender (40%)
1 Meter: HP double > LP double > MP double > HP double > Shadow Furious Flurry > Furious Flurry ender (47%)
2 Meter: HP double > Shadow Furious Flurry > MP double > HP double > Shadow Furious Flurry > Furious Flurry ender (54%)
3 Meter: MP double > HP double > Shadow Furious Flurry > Shadow Furious Flurry > Shadow Furious Flurry > Furious Flurry ender (61%)
( Damage calculation notes)
Notes: Because Omen's standard linkers take so long, he needs to use his Demon Loop combo trait to build up solid level 4 damage, and he gets to lock out a bar of his opponent's shadow meter as a bonus. Whether you start with MP or HP double depends on how long the combo is after it, since you want as many HP doubles as possible in the window. Shadow Furious Flurry is the best use of his meter for damage purposes; shadow Demon Slide is slow and does less damage, while spending his meter on Shadow Form to do freestyle manual combos is stylish but several percent behind the above combos. You can swap Demon Slide ender for Furious Flurry ender in all combos for the same damage if you'd like to trade sides, but otherwise Furious Flurry is preferred for the corner carry.
Unique Mechanic: Rashakukens
Rashakuken is Omen's fireball, but they don't act like traditional fireballs. LP, MP, and HP versions throw 1, 2, or 3 separate Rashakukens respectively, but how they act are chosen at random (not unlike Faust from Guilty Gear) from a list of 11 possible behaviors. The full list is below, complete with my own names for them.
- Accelerator: A mid-hitting projectile that starts very slow before greatly speeding up as it travels.
- Anti-air: Fires at a 30-degree angle in the air.
- Boomerang: Fires outward before circling back and leaving the screen behind Omen's head.
- Bullet: Rockets across the screen at maximum velocity from start to finish.
- Crawler: Gets dropped at Omen's feet before shooting towards the opponent along the ground.
- Decelerator: Flies very fast away from Omen before coming to a complete stop about halfway across the screen.
- Dud: Flies out of Omen's hands directly into the ground about one character length away.
- Looper: Travels in a circular looping pattern that speeds up as it moves away from Omen.
- Tracker: A slow-moving fireball with an aura around it that will track your opponent's movements until it hits or times out.
- Wave: Moves in a sine wave pattern slowly across the screen.
- Wiggler: Moves side-to-side in front of Omen five times before disappearing.
The recovery of these projectiles is also worth noting. A standard fireball from Jago completes in about 45 frames from start to finish, whereas LP Rashakuken is closer to a Guile Sonic Boom with only about 30 total frames. MP Rashakuken is closer to a standard 45 frame projectile, while HP Rashakuken takes upwards of 60 frames to complete, but provides the most chaos on the playing field. You cannot throw any more Rashakukens until all your other previously thrown ones have disappeared, and hitting Omen does not destroy the fireballs, which means he can use them as a shield.
You may think the inconsistency of the fireballs prevents Omen from zoning like traditional fireball characters, but the randomness of the Rashakukens actually plays into Omen's favor. Unless you get several duds in your set, almost every combination of the fireballs from any range will have some practical use to Omen if he's able to identify the pattern he received and act accordingly. From full screen, for example, the Wiggler, Wave, Looper, and Crawler act as excellent shields for Omen to do a Demon Slide, normally unsafe, which prevents the opponent from punishing while Omen starts his offense.
Other fireballs serve more traditional goals; the Accelerator, Decelerator, Anti-air, and Bullet act as good space control tools that, even if they don't hit your opponent, force your opponent to stand at range and try to evaluate what he can and can't do based on the pattern. At very close range, the different recoveries of the fireballs work heavily in Omen's favor if he cancels his strong pokes into different strengths and mixes up with staggered tick throws and other pressure. The defense can never be really sure when a throw is coming, or when he should shadow counter, and there's virtually no bad pattern that will ruin a block string if your opponent is close.
Rashakukens are a versatile tool that can augment Omen's zoning and pressure game and can be used in whichever situation the match calls for.Unique Mechanic: Air Dash
Omen can dash in mid-air by double-tapping forward or backward. The air forward dash causes Omen to swoop forward, while the air backward dash causes Omen to drop to the ground quickly at a slightly diagonal angle. Omen can attack out of the air very quickly after initiating his dash, which makes Omen's aerial approach dangerous. Additionally, Omen can cancel air dashes into each other as many times as he likes before he hits the ground, so where Omen will end up when he starts to dash can be quite unpredictable.
Air dashing nicely complements Omen's strong ground game, supplemented by his great midrange normals and his chaotic Rashakuken zoning. Because Omen's jump is floaty, almost every jump Omen does will be with some form of air dashing in mind. Just be wary that Omen cannot block while jumping or air dashing, which means he can still be anti-aired, and if you become predictable with your air dash angles, your opponent will be able to easily knock Omen out of his approach.
Openers: Demon Slide (shadow OK), Furious Flurry (shadow OK)
Omen's main method for starting a combo will be Demon Slide (often protected by Rashakukens) or jump-in openers, due to Omen's air dash. Light Demon Slide is -2 on block and hits low, so use this move if you don't have Rashakukens or Shadow Form (see "Special Moves" below) to keep yourself safe. Furious Flurry is also a decent option as a block string, perhaps while trying to hit-confirm a jump-in; all versions are safe, with the best being the light version at -1 on block. Shadow Furious Flurry kicks 5 projectiles towards your opponent, and if you're close enough, you can transition out of it like any opener, but it is easily shadow countered on block. On the contrast, shadow Demon Slide is not easily shadow countered, since Omen will slide behind the opponent and avoid punishment from most characters. It is also projectile invincible until the hit, so it's quite useful for full screen approaches.Other Combo Starters: Rashakuken & Shadow Rashakuken & Shadow Orda Shield & Throw (requires a manual)
While not technically an opener, like all other characters with fireballs, Omen can link a manual after a Rashakuken on hit to enter the combo sequence. LP, MP, and HP Rashakukens can all lead to combos, and 90% of fireball patterns will hit the same way when close, so there is not much randomness to worry about here. If you get a Crawler with your last fireball, though, it may not connect with your opponent immediately, leading to a gap in the combo; this actually might work out in Omen's favor if the opponent is hitting buttons, leading to a reset opportunity.
Omen's throws work similarly to Glacius. Omen leaves his opponent standing, and if you are near the corner, Omen has considerable frame advantage to link any manual to start a combo. Omen's throws also do some white damage, which is a key part to his corner pressure. Tick throws and throw resets will quickly build the ender level, and then Omen can do a one-chance-break combo to cash it all out whenever he feels the need. If Omen is midscreen and lands a throw, you can instinct cancel after Omen kicks the opponent away and then connect with any version of Demon Slide except light, including shadow.Linkers: Demon Slide (shadow OK), Furious Flurry (shadow OK)
Demon Slide constantly switches sides with his opponent, but is otherwise a standard linker. Furious Flurry hits 5, 7, and 9 times for the light, medium, and heavy linker versions, but the duration lasts a long time which will give the defense plenty of time to watch his character's reel animation and break the medium and heavy versions. The heavy Furious Flurry linker is also easy to identify because Omen's kick movements are considerably more rapid in this version. Both Furious Flurry and Demon Slide take quite a long time to execute; Flurry also raises the KV considerably with each hit. Because of this, in lockout situations, Omen should prefer to use shadow linkers and his Demon Loop combo trait to build damage. Omen also lacks a true corner carry linker, which is unfortunate considering his strong corner pressure game; you'll have to send them to the corner with an ender if you want them there.
Shadow Linkers: Omen's most common shadow linker is Shadow Furious Flurry, because it executes faster and does more damage and white life to the opponent. The first three hits of this linker are very standard and easy to break, and there is a bit of a gap between the third and fourth hits, but in practice you will be unlikely to hit it if you break with a standard rhythm. Shadow Demon Slide has long break windows and comparatively short lockout gaps, but there are only a few shadow moves in the game with a super freeze over 50 frames, and the extra delay might throw you off. To alleviate this problem, you can choose to break hits 3, 4, and 5 instead, and you'll need to break with slightly slower timing than other rapid fire shadow moves such as Furious Flurry.
Omen's enders are very interesting; all of them are battery enders. Rashakuken is a double battery ender, building twice as much meter as any of his other enders. At level 4, Rashakuken builds almost two full stocks of shadow meter, which is exceptional, but the ender itself does very little damage and sends the opponent away. Furious Flurry is Omen's highest damage ender, and it is a carry ender that does not wall splat; if you're looking to send your opponent away from you to tackle the Rashakuken obstacle course, you can pick whether you want the meter (Rashakuken ender) or the damage (Furious Flurry ender). Orda Shield is a launcher ender which keeps the opponent really close and allows Omen to set up all sorts of tricky wakeup mixups through the use of shadow Rashakuken or shadow Orda Shield. If you have some pre-planned mixups in store, the Orda Shield ender is Omen's trickiest.
Recapture & Flipout: Jumping LP & Standing LK (flipout)
Omen is not a strong juggle character, so he has less use for flipout or recapture than some other characters in the game. If you catch someone trying to jump away from corner Rashakukens, you can use standing LK to flip them out and force them to stand up into Omen's pressure again. Otherwise, you could use flipout after Orda Shield ender if you are not looking to give Omen's offense a different look.
Normals to watch: Omen's normals are not entirely dissimilar to Jago's; if anything, they may be slightly stronger at stage control by themselves. Jago's double roundhouse kick is replaced by Furious Swipes, a +HP command normal that looks very similar to Sabrewulf's Ragged Edge (but be sure to note that this is a normal, while Ragged Edge is a special move). It covers great horizontal distance, pushes opponents to the corner, and is special cancelable into very good pressure on hit or block. Omen's standing MP and HP are great tools when around sweep distance as well, especially when trapping a cornered opponent with Rashakukens. Omen has one of the best crouching LPs in the game; fast at 5 frames, but exceedingly long range and both chainable and cancelable into specials, it is a great go-to normal when escaping pressure or continuing your own. He has a fairly shoto-esque crouching MK as well to threaten with a meaningful low, and crouching HP is Omen's best anti-air attack; press the button early and cancel it into MP Orda Shield for around 12% unbreakable anti-air damage.
Omen has several good jumping normals to complement his air dash. Jumping MP and jumping LK are both great crossups, and both can be used in fake crossup situations a as well, because of the way they hit downward below Omen. Jumping LK is a bit faster, which makes it a bit easier to use close to the ground. Jumping MK, while not a crossup, has very good space control in front of Omen, great for approaching from the front and forcing people to block from a significant distance. If they start to predict and anti-air this move, try canceling your approach into air backdash and make their anti-airs miss. Jumping HK does extremely high damage and works pretty good as an air-to-air attack. The damage on this move makes it worth fishing for during some of Omen's air dashes, especially against jump-happy opponents.
Specials to watch: Omen has numerous utility special moves, aside from the aforementioned Demon Slide, that need proper discussion and breakdown.
Let's start with shadow Rashakuken/Orda Shield. Shadow Rashakuken will summon three fireballs behind Omen's head, which will fire off one by one towards the opponent, while shadow Orda Shield will summon three orbs that rotate around Omen's body, similar to Rose's Soul Satellite Ultra in SFIV. These orbs will not extend combos, and the orbs are spaced far enough apart that they do not combo by themselves, but the orbs will not disappear if Omen is hit, which makes them very good at space control and basically forces Omen's opponent to sit there and block. The orbs do not do much damage, however, so you will be expected to turn any of the hits into a combo to convert into anything meaningful. These moves can also be upgraded by spending more shadow stocks. For example, if you have shadow Orda Shield out, you can perform another shadow Orda Shield to give each of your orbs two hits instead of one; the same is true for shadow Rashakuken. If you perform shadow Orda and then shadow Rasha, the orbs circling your body will fire off towards your opponent, and if you perform them in reverse order, the shadow Rasha orbs will gain homing properties. Feel free to experiment with what happens if you upgrade your orbs with a third shadow stock!
The real benefit here is to summon one of these persistent projectile attacks after your opponent has been knocked down with, for example, a sweep attack or an Orda Shield launcher ender, and then perform mixups on the character while the orbs are hitting them. You can choose to do jumping crossups, or jumping fake crossups by jumping over their head, air dashing backwards, and hitting from the front again. You can also use Shadow Form, if you have the meter to spare, to turn the mixups even more unreactable. If your opponent is not knocked down, but you can get them to block a medium Orda Shield (for example, canceled from a +HP or crouching normal), you can cancel into either shadow Rashakuken or shadow Orda Shield and the high blockstun of MP Orda Shield will keep you safe from reversals. The possibilities for mixups here are endless; if you want to spend instinct, for example, you can instantly upgrade your setup to level 2 orbs by simply performing the same setup, and then you could have 5 orbs, each hitting twice, that lock out your opponent's meter while you mix them up. Or, you could just force them to deal with the block stun and perform some basic frame trap/throw mixups.
Omen's other main use of shadow meter is Shadow Form, an invincible command dash executed by pressing three kicks that can be steered in any direction, including through your opponent. Shadow Form is among the best uses of one stock of shadow meter in the game; its applications on offense and defense are too numerous to mention on one page. On offense, you can use it to cancel any unsafe move directly into a mixup, including full screen Demon Slides, canceling a safe move into surprise pressure, or using it as a surprise side switch during air attacks. You can use it as a combo extender after a heavy auto-double which lets you freestyle some manuals a bit. On defense, it is an excellent (though not infallible) reversal that can get you out of pressure or immediately create a mixup of your own, or it can be used to dodge anti-air attacks other characters would have to eat. Your success with Omen will likely be measured by how well you use this move offensively and defensively.
Lastly, we need to discuss Demonic Despair. For all three shadow stocks, Omen can perform a short-range command grab that does 100% potential damage and sends the opponent flying full screen away while Omen taunts in place. If you can manage to catch the opponent before his potential damage heals (at a full 100%, it will take about 15 seconds), you can perform a one-chance-break combo to immediately end the round. Demonic Despair is invincible until the throw begins, which means you can use it to blow through pokes or as an extremely risky reversal attack. There are several important downsides to this move, however. At 25 frames of startup (though unjumpable after the screen freeze) and Omen flashing bright white for a strong visual tell, it is possible your opponent will jump away from this move on reaction. Omen needs to save all three of his shadow stocks, which will hamper his offense while waiting for his time to strike. And even if you manage to hit with the move, you will have to try and catch your opponent with no shadow meter available and no particularly strong mixup options, and then survive the combo break attempt. But because Demonic Despair is invincible on startup, there will definitely be some instances where the high meter cost is worth the risks.
General strategy: Omen is a character that can be played numerous ways. He has strong, chaotic zoning that is much less affected by the randomness of Rashakukens than you might think, and any time Omen recognizes a Rashakuken that can cover his approach, it's a good idea to do a heavy Demon Slide in and start some close pressure. He also has especially strong corner pressure and footsies tools around the sweep range, but at the midscreen range, Omen will need to rely on smart, calculated play to swoop in with a forward air dash to begin his offense. If you can manage to score some meter for yourself by starting the round with a Rashakuken ender, Omen can get his engine going and take off a life bar in a flash, ending each combo with more meter to fuel up. However, this will require a little bit of practice in the lab to be sufficiently ambiguous following any sweep or Orda Shield ender, and good understanding and effective use of Shadow Form, because Omen does not have the raw damage of many other characters that can make full life comebacks with just two reads. It's an interesting contrast that a character with a chaotic projectile requires a steady, stable player at the helm; by playing strong defense, you will have more meter in offensive positions. Studying his strong (but low-damage) mixups, using air dash effectively, and reliably applying his good mid-range tools is what will bring out the true potential in Omen.