Welcome to Musou missives. Here I discuss the characters of Warriors Orochi 3, they’re strengths and weaknesses and make suggestions for playing them at higher levels.
For this episode, we had our winner determined by the Double Musou poll last month. So let’s talk a little about Masamune Date.
History and interpretation
Historically, Masamune Date is regarded as a fearsome tactician as well as a purveyor of culture; through my own research I’ve come to disagree with that sentiment. Masamune Date that I’ve read about was a pragmatists,perhaps to a fault.
Masamune Date’s cruel and fierce reputation likely comes two things — his eye patch and the slaying of his brother; both of these are interrelated. Masamune lost his eye to a childhood illness of some kind. The term ‘polio’ has been used before, but it’s unclear exactly what illness it was or how he lost the entire organ. Due to this illness, his right to lead the clan was given to his brother, as he was deemed unfit to rule. In response, he attacked his own brother and seized control of his clan forcibly.
I believe his skill at a tactician is a mite over-blown as well. The most significant tactic he used was setting up a series of bunkers on hills that slowed the enemy advance enough that they gave up at the city walls. This was more to do with Date’s opposition under threat of attack from another enemy as well. This turn of events allowed his clan to survive, though barely.
Instead, most of Date’s tactical decisions were practical ones. He joined forces with the Toyotomi at one point, and the Tokugawa at another; these alliances were made primarily because Masamune Date had little alternative, as opposing either regime would inevitably result in the destruction of his clan. Because of this, however, he was not very well trusted among his peers. They were right not to trust him either, as the survival of his clan was his only paramount ideal.
The Orochi series portrays that aspect quite well, as Masamune Date frequently sides with Orochi and the demons due to their more substantial numbers. He only sides with our heroes when it seems to benefit his own power and survival.
So then, we should probably take a closer look at Masamune Date before he turns his guns on us.
Class and Officer Ability
Date is a technique class character. This grants him the ability to deal more damage to enemies while in a juggle-state, and gives him the ability to strafe– allowing him to move across the field quickly, while still guarding. This also makes it easier to setup counters with Date, which are crucial to his play-style as we’ll soon see.
His officer ability is Dexterity, which reduces the damage taken from enemy combos. This seems like a great defensive skill, but it mostly helps against enemy officers who tend to do more combos then any other enemies on the field. Date’s Moveset also makes him far more effective against officers as well.
We’ll start with Date’s most versitile attacks and move down from there:
His charge five is one of his best options. Date fires his guns on either side of him, knocking enemies upward on both sides. While this isn’t the best juggle setup for Date himself, it can be used as a swap cancel, to setup a juggle for an incoming teammate. It’s also one of his most reliable area of effect attacks, but it comes so late in his combo string that it’s difficult to use expressly for that purpose.
His Charge 4 combo is a good aoe effect also. In this attack Masamune Date performs several rapid slashes that ends with a pirouette of guns. The slashes at the start leave him relatively open to attack, so it’s better as a preventative measure rather than using it once he’s already surrounded. It doesn’t set up juggles or swaps very well, however you can Musou afterward to pick up the enemies he knocked away.
His normal combo is one of the other mostly safe options, as he goes through the attacks quick enough to avoid damage much of the time. At the end of the combo where he fires bullets directly in front him still leaves him quite vulnerable, however.
If you saw my Double Musou video, you probably saw a nifty trick Date can do with his air attack. Masamune Date can fire his guns repeatedly in the air, slowing his descent to the ground. Date can use this to fire bullets on unsuspecting enemies far below him as well. You can also go from his air normal into his air charge, to setup a juggle. The air charge only hits a small number of enemies though. In spite of this being a unique trick with Date, it’s not viable very often, and is most effective on certain terrain. It can be used effectively after a midair somersault however.
His charge 2 and charge 1 combos are really effective as they juggle an opponents; in combination with his Technique Class ability of increasing damage from juggles, these can be his most devastating combos. However, both of these leave Date quite vulnerable, so they can’t be used in large crowds very often. Also they tend not to setup swaps very well either, though with good timing it is possible with a charge 1 combo.
Date’s charge 3 is his most frustrating combo. He moves forward then fires shock waves in two directions twice. This seems like it should effectively knock away enemy hordes, but it misses the diagonals. Also, if you turn Date in another direction, it may not hit all around him anyway. This move is bit unwieldy to use effectively against officers too, so it’s uses become extremely limited.
Date’s special is his saving grace in crowds as it moves him out of the horde and sprays enemies around him, setting up potential juggles. It’s best used, however, as a retreat from a bad situation. My suggestion is to Swap cancel out of it to setup a character that performs better in crowds.
His Musou is his best area-of-effect option, but also is really good as an end to a long combo string. It juggles a large area of enemies and can help finish off an officer whose eaten a heavy combo already.
Weapon Fusion Abilities
To get the most out of Date’s moves, you’ll want his weapons to have Flak and Blast, since he is very reliant on juggles and projectiles for damage. Destruction is a must since all of Date’s combos should end in Musou when available. Ice and Wind can help a more aggressive player. Fire and Thunder can be useful in some situations. No character is averse to Agility either. Brawn can be useful, though Might maybe preferable under most situations. Courage is neccessary to deal more damage to officers. One might also consider Osmosis to build meter back after a musou, or Absorption for health, though these are very play-style dependent. Since his special is used mostly to get out of situations rather than to do damage, Frenzy is a waste.
Zhong Hui and Kaguya
Admittedly this is redundant from last installment. The combination of Zhong hui and Kaguya is built around building team gauge with Zhong hui’s combos and Kaguya’s trinity ability, and using the team attack as often as possible. Zhong Hui then buffs both teammates with his Technique officer ability, increasing their stats. Date takes some benefit from this team, but doesn’t provide much in return here.
Ieyasu Tokugawa and Tadakatsu Honda
This team has much better synergy than the previous one. Tadakatsu and Ieyasu are much better at clearing out the riff-raff, and Date swaps neatly into many of their combos. Ieyasu is especially good at setting up juggles for Date to capitalize on. This team combines several defensive skills (Solidarity, Fortitude, and Dexterity) making this a powerful defensive team, but may struggle to deal damage without a good offensive item load out, such as the Spear of Sacrifice.
Wang Yi and Kiyomori Taira
Ironically, Date’s competition in Double Musou is one of his better partners. Wang Yi is quite good at clearing crowds on her own, but can struggle against singular opponents. Masamune is just the opposite, so the two complement each other’s style rather well. Plus, Wang Yi’s Efficacy ability makes Date even more effective against officers.
Kiyomori fits well as a bridge between the two. His powerful attacks have good range, and his solidarity skill makes the team much more sturdy. Also, his dash/swap-in attack allows him to pick up enemies from either Wang Yi’s area-of-effect attacks or Date’s juggle setups.
Nagamasa Azai, and Masanori Fukushima
A surprise for me, this team has a remarkable amount of synergy and make for an incredible experience to play as. Fukushima serves as the teams point character, able to take abuse, as well as deliver powerful attacks in the meantime. However, most of Fukushima’s charge attacks leave him open to attack afterward. Swapping in Nagamasa can either get the team out of a sticky situation, or continue a devastating combo. Date, meanwhile, serves best at the tail end of a long swap cancel combo as he can then concentrate on enemies with more health and clean up. Even so, the synergy on this team was good enough that I was able to go ‘around the world’ (i.e. swap cancel combo through all three teammates) twice before needing to end the combo.
Overall, Date is character that takes some skill and concentration to play. His style doesn’t allow him to charge in heedlessly, and requires some amount of care and thought. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to him though, he’s a wickedly powerful and fun character.
Be sure to like and follow. Also, post in the comments who else should be featured in Musou Missives!
Next time I think we’ll be going back to ancient China …
Primary research was taken from samurai-archives.com