April 1, 2021

11 Min Read

Year 5 Season 1 Testing Grounds: Hero Improvements Overview

Hello warriors!

We’re back with another Testing Grounds! We’ll be opening it up from April 1st to April 8th.

This time around we’re testing changes to seven heroes. They are:

  • Shugoki
  • Aramusha
  • Berserker
  • Jiang Jun
  • Hitokiri
  • Zhanhu
  • Gladiator

Shugoki’s changes revolve around making him less frustrating to play against, while giving him ganking tools and better 1v1 pressure.

For Aramusha, we’re looking to improve the viability of Blade Blockade, as well as giving the hero an opener and ways to deal with bashes.

Berserker gets mostly quality of life changes; Dodge Attacks in general are made more effective.

Jiang Jun has changes to his Stamina consumption as well as his Guardbreak punishes and his Heavy Finishers to make him stronger in 1v1.

Hitokiri has changes to improve flowing into chains and ways to deal with bashes.

Zhanhu’s changes revolve around having better neutral pressure, getting more chances to Dodge Cancel recoveries as well as improving the Side Dodge attacks.

Finally, Gladiator gains improved chaining ability and improvements to his Dodge Attacks.

We’ll be going through an overview of the changes per hero. For a more in-depth view of these changes, we’re encouraging you once again to watch the Warrior’s Den.


Demon’s Embrace

  • Now performed from neutral with a Back + Guardbreak input
  • Total attack duration reduced to 900ms
  • Now heals for 20 damage and deals 10 damage
  • Now fully restores Stamina to Shugoki’s opponent
  • No longer has Armor

Developer’s comment: These changes are aimed at making Demon’s Embrace the ganking move it should be; its position in chains as a soft feint prevents it from being a thorough ganking move.

Charge of the Oni

  • Now accessible from hitting the Sprint button while Sprinting only

  • While Charge of the Oni is active, Shugoki gains increased movement speed and his stamina is slowly depleted.

  • Removed Armored and Unblockable properties from the move

Developer’s comment: Shugoki has a difficult time performing his rotations – going from the lane to a side point or from side point to side point; with this, Shugoki gains an ability similar to what Shinobi possesses and is able to move around the battlefield more swiftly.

Dodge Attacks

  • New Option: Side Dodge Headbutt
  • New Option: Front Dodge Headbutt
  • New Option: Forward Dodge Heavy

Developer’s comment: These new dodge attacks should provide Shugoki with enough options to properly counter opponent bashes as well as opponents who tend to roll away too much. It also gives Shugoki a neutral opener, which should help him flow better into his offense.


  • Now deals 10 damage
  • No longer stuns, deals Stamina damage and pause stamina regeneration
  • 500ms from Front Dodge and in chains, 533ms on Side Dodges

Developer’s comment: Shugoki’s Headbutt is now used in many more situations, and as such it needs to be more of a threat than previously.

Light Attacks

  • No longer Armored

Developer’s comment: This helps prevent frustration while fighting against Shugoki, who could hit Light on reaction to anything his opponents threw.


Blade Blockade and followups

  • Can now cancel the recovery of any attack to Blade Blockade on Hit, Miss and non-interrupted Block
  • All Blade Blockade followups are now guaranteed
  • Heavy Followup is now a side Unblockable attack with Zone Attack properties
  • Light Followup is now a top Unblockable attack
  • Push Back Kick Followup is unchanged
  • Removed Ring the Bell from Blade Blockade followups

Developer’s comment: These changes should improve Blade Blockade to where you use the appropriate followup depending on the situation and make Blade Blockade much easier to access.

Dodge Attacks

  • Rushing Wind attack can no longer select which side to attack (always top)
    o Armor now starts at 400ms (up from 100ms)
  • New Option: Side Dodge Heavy
    o 600ms attack
    o Initiates chains

Developer’s comment: Aramusha should now be able to deal with opponent bashes and initiate his offense better.

Ring the Bell Soft Feints

  • Heavy Openers now soft feint to Ring the Bell
  • Dodge Forward Heavy now soft feints to Ring the Bell

Developer’s comment: Aramusha now gains a tool to both open up opponents as well as set up ganks.

Attack Chains

  • Aramusha now chains to Finishers when a second attack is performed without switching stances.

Developer’s comment: This removes the need for Aramusha to do Side -> Top -> Side to continue his infinite chain. This should alleviate some of the predictability and give new options in group fights.


Top Light Opener

  • Now 500ms (down from 600ms) and deals 12 damage (down from 13)
  • After Feint version is now 400ms (down from 500ms) and deals 11 damage (down from 12)

Developer’s comment: These changes normalize all of Berserker’s neutral light attacks, giving them all the same utility.

Dodge Attacks

  • Head Slider attack is now Enhanced and moves forward further
  • Spin Chop attacks are now Enhanced
  • Head Crusher now moves forward further

Developer’s comment: Berserker should now be able to use his dodge attacks to both chase and enable his offense more reliably.

Sprint Attack

  • Boar Rush now has extra forward movement

Developer’s comment: Berserker should now be able to catch up to opponents fleeing fights more easily.

Jiang Jun

Heavy Openers

  • Top Heavy Opener is now 800ms (down from 900ms) and deals 24 damage (down from 27)
  • Side Heavy Openers are now 900ms (down from 1000ms) and deal 27 damage (down from 32)

Developer’s comment: Jiang Jun can now use his Top Heavy opener as a Guardbreak punish and his Side Heavy openers as Light parry punishes for extra damage.

Heavy Finishers

  • Heavy Finishers can now be soft feinted to Guardbreak

Developer’s comment: This lets Jiang Jun catch opponents who could roll away from his Heavy Finishers.

Sifu’s Swirl

  • Now Unblockable

Developer’s comment: This lets Jiang Jun be more effective in group fights by throwing multiple target swapped unblockable attacks and be threatening against external opponents.

Stamina Costs

  • All of Jiang Jun’s Heavy attacks now cost 12 stamina

Developer’s comment: Jiang Jun’s stamina penalty on his Side Heavy Attacks is no longer relevant with the Core Combat Update; they retain their properties but now cost the standard amount of stamina for Heavy attacks.

Forward Dodge Attacks

  • New Option: Dodge Forward Shin Kick
    o Performed by dogdging forward and hitting Guardbreak
    o 500ms bash that chains to Openers
  • Mighty Sanction is now 600ms, no longer soft feints to Kick and is no longer feintable

Developer’s comment: These changes are twofold: Jiang Jun now gets a more reliable opener with his Kick as well as better chase with his Dodge Forward Heavy.

Dou Shi’s Choke

  • No longer guarantees damage to the parried opponent

Developer’s comment: This makes Jiang Jun have to decide which option to perform after a parry; Dou Shi’s Choke is no longer the best option after every single Heavy Parry.


Chain Flow changes

  • Sprint Attack, Dodge Forward Heavy and Zone Attack now initiate chains

Developer’s comment: This lets Hitokiri chains to his infinite chains more easily and applies more pressure overall.


  • Rei Kick has more range and can no longer be countered by perform backstep attacks
  • Rei Sweep now guarantees a Chained Heavy attack

Developer’s comment: These changes make Hitokiri’s Rei Kick/Sweep mixup more potent and pushes towards the infinite chain in a more consistent manner.

Endless Myriad Attacks

  • Now gains Armor when the Heavy Attack button is released
  • Now has flatter and larger attack trajectories
  • Now moves forward more during the attack

Developer’s comment: Hitokiri should now be able to use his Infinite Heavy Chain attacks more effectively in group fights.

Side Dodge Attack

  • New Option: Side Dodge Heavy
    o 600ms
    o Hits on opposite side of Dodge
    o Initiates chains

Developer’s comment: Hitokiri now has tools to handle bashes and can use it to initiate offense more effectively.


Dodge Cancels

  • All attacks now cancel their recoveries into Dodges at 333ms in their recoveries on Hit/Miss/Non-interrupted Block

Developer’s comment: Zhanhu now can dodge cancel all of their recoveries, including Finisher recoveries, to stay on the move and apply pressure to opponents.

Dodge Attacks

  • Violent and Brisk Maneuvers are now Enhanced and count as Heavy parries
  • Stinging Maneuver is now 500ms and enhanced
  • New option: Dodge Forward Subduing Counterblow
    o Performed by dodging forward and hitting Guardbreak
    o 500ms
    o Chains to Openers

Developer’s comment: Zhanhu’s Dodge Attacks should now be safer to use, and Zhanhu can now also use his Palm attack to open up opponents.

Superior Block Dodge Followups

  • Removed Palm option from Superior Block dodges
  • When Superior Blocking while dodging, Light and Heavy attacks now become Unblockable.
  • On Front Dodge Superior Block, Light attack is guaranteed
  • On Side Dodge Superior Blocks, Light and Heavy attacks are guaranteed
  • Front Superior Block Light now deals 22 damage
  • Front Superior Block heavy attack now deals 30 damage
  • Side Superior Block attacks now deal 22 damage

Developer’s comment: Zhanhu no longer has Palm on Superior Block dodges but can now guarantee damage when they successfully block.

Other changes

  • Zone Attack now hits at 500ms
  • Right Heavy Finisher trajectory is now mirrored from Left Heavy Finisher trajectory

Developer’s comment: These Quality of Life changes should help make Zhanhu be more in-line with other heroes.


Chain Flow changes

  • Fusacina Ictus, Zone Attack and Sucker Punches now chain to Heavy Finishers and Skewer.

Developer’s comment: Gladiator now has more ways to enter chains and initiate Skewer and other types of pressure.

Dodge Attacks

  • Bee’s Sting attacks now have invulnerable frames in their startup
  • Side Sucker Punches now have extra range and invulnerable frames in their startup.
  • Crowd Pleaser now moves forward more

Developer’s comment: These changes are aimed at making Gladiator more in-line with other heroes in terms of their dodge attacks, while also granting Gladiator more chase.

Fuscina Ictus

  • Now deals 10 damage
  • No longer prevents executions on bound opponents

Developer’s comment: Fuscina Ictus now deals a more respectable amount of damage while improving its ganking ability.


  • Now costs 12 stamina
  • No longer guarantees a Dodge Forward Light attack

Developer’s comment: Skewer should now be much more usable as there are multiple ways to initiate the attack, and as such it is now more in-line with other attacks.

We look forward to seeing you testing out the changes! As usual, we’ll be sending a survey and we will also monitor social media for feedback, so do not hesitate to voice your opinion. If you missed it, Jean-Charles and Stefan, went over all these coming changes in our latest Warriors Den. Click here if you want to check that out.

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