Harrier (HAR) is a stance that acts as a quick dash forward that covers roughly 3 character lengths during its active period. It can be manually entered with f+4. HAR can also be entered from several strings by holding F. The strings are 1,1,F, 4,4,4,F, 3,3,3,F, df+1,1,F, d+2,F, b,1,F and ws1,1,F. HAR can be cancelled into full crouch (FC) by holding D or DB during the first 10 frames of its animation. The animation at the end of the stance is indistinguishable from her FC. This allows you to ambiguously mix FC lows with delayed HAR inputs.
HAR for mixups
HAR can be of great use to your offence and offers great mixup potential as long as you understand how much your opponent knows about the Katarina match-up. Using any move on block that allows you to transition into HAR will allow the opponent to step EVERY option except HAR.df+2 with SSR, and even then it is possible to step HAR.df+2, just extremely rare. The only exceptions to this are d+2,F and b+1,F as HAR.1 will beat your opponent's SSR in most cases due to the fact that d+2 and b+1 are plus on block when entering HAR (+3). Entering HAR from any other moves results in entering at minus frames (-1) and allows all HAR options to be beaten with SSR or with an i12 mid.
Despite the abysmal tracking, HAR is pretty decent as a stance. It requires you to understand how much Kat your opponent knows and to use their extreme knowledge or lack of in your favour. Due to the ability to ambiguously cancel Harrier mid-stance you are able to get very creative with your offence. Remember - Katarina's goal is to get your opponent swinging. The stance has two safe mid-CH launchers, a high CH KND and a safe mid wallbounce.
SSR duck in response to an anticipated HAR transition will beat all moves done immediately out of HAR except df+2,3. In practice, it is difficult to maximally punish HAR.1 after SSR duck. If you use HAR.df+2,3 to catch stepping, your opponent could SSR~guard or simply stand block to duck the string and launch punish. In this case, delaying your HAR moves will re-align you with your opponent to keep the mix alive.
- fast, high poke that tracks at +3 and gives a follow-up on CH; can be ducked and launched
- stand guard (B)
- crouch guard (DB)
- jab (1)
- duck jab (db+1)
Katarina Harrier mixup in the mirror after b+1,F on block
Nash equilibrium with payoff -12.01
Payoff for dominated options
HAR for string safety
Katarina's Crane Kick Combo (3) (3,3,3) and Nimble Cutter (3) (4,4,4) are key moves for her, but both are jab-punishable at -10. The former is a high damage mid check that can be safely hit-confirmed. The latter is Kat's i11 magic 4 CH-fishing string that gives an easy combo conversion. Since we can transition to HAR from both strings by holding F, we can evade a jab-punish attempt and instead CH our opponent with HAR.1. This makes it risky for opponents to attempt a punish on the strings, making them "safe".
HAR for approach
HAR can be used to approach from range > 1.5, in a manner similar to a Mishima crouch dash. Since it evades highs, it can be useful against opponents who use high keep-out moves. Successive HAR dashes can be used to intimidate an opponent who is turtling and pressure them into pressing a button. It can also be used to set up a HAR or FC mixup upon approach. Katarina is vulnerable to mids and lows during HAR's duration, so don't be careless.
b+1 HAR cancel loops for pressure
Kat can enter HAR from b+1 (b+1,F) with +3 on block. Any standing move from an opponent will get counterhit by HAR.1, making it dangerous for them to swing. Ducking or using high-crushes also run the risk of eating a HAR.uf+3, making this a risky proposition too. Safe options for the opponent are to either stay still or SSR~duck.
This is where Kat can confuse and pressure the opponent by transitioning into crouch, and again doing a b+1,F HAR cancel, or an FC mixup. The opponent must decide whether to press a button to stop the repeated attacks, or step right to evade a HAR move. Since b+1 tracks against SSR, it will catch opponents who SSR, or even SSR-duck. This can help to both lock an aggressive/movement-heavy opponent down and condition them to stay still, or to agitate them enough into pressing a button.
If they choose to stand guard, Kat can ambiguously enter FC from HAR and mix them up. HAR.df+3 is also a good low to use when the opponent is staying still. Alternatively, Kat can use the mental frame advantage to mix them with standing pokes.
In summary, b+1 HAR cancel loops can be used to -
- condition an opponent to respect the HAR mix by counter-hitting/crushing their attempts to hit you out of HAR with HAR.1 and HAR.uf+3
- allow Kat to use her more rewarding FC mix without worrying about the opponent hitting you out of FC
- make it scary for the opponent to press buttons or step
Weaknesses in this gameplan are -
- Opponents can land counterhits between successive b+1 HAR cancels. This opens them up to getting CH by HAR.1
- If the opponent guesses right, they could duck the HAR.1 for a launch or float HAR.uf+3 (or simply poke you out of HAR with an i13 mid)