So, the Gunslinging Messiah, Happy Chaos, makes his long-awaited entry into Guilty Gear – Strive –‘s roster. The all-powerful magic-user takes his trusty handguns from the game’s Story Mode with him into a fight and is basically all about shooting, reloading and having a good time. His overall toolkit is all designed to supplement his gunplay, so you’ll be hitting HS a lot. The team at ArcSys have managed to balance this behind limiting your ammo count before having to reload, as well as a Concentration meter that dictates how long Happy Chaos can hold out his gun and aim.
Happy Chaos has certainly been an interesting take on what you can do with a fighting game character and has certainly got the Fighting Game Community talking all about him. I spoke to a whole bunch of previous contributors to the First Impressions series to get them all together for an end of the year special.
This is what the experts had to say:
Lord Knight (Competitive Fighting Game Player and YouTuber)
“Another day, another new character in Guilty Gear – Strive –! This time we have Happy Chaos. I’m not a fan of his aesthetic, but he is a VERY interesting character with a unique mechanic. To be honest, one thing that ASW has done a good job with as far as DLC characters go in GG is giving them very unique playstyles, and Happy Chaos holds up.
1) EXTREMELY good (might go as far to say lazy) zoning
2) Very good offense with resources
3) Good normals (many disjoints)
4) Lots of moves with special properties
1) Pretty slow (moves at Zato speed)
2) BAD defense. No reversal super to speak of (his backstep is very good though)
3) Despite it not being a big deal to manage IMO, he does have two resources to manage at all times
People were unsure what type of character Happy Chaos is, but I essentially see him as a hybrid zoner. He has a bullet meter (numbered resource that is very easy to recover, you just use an input) and “focus” meter. The focus meter is very important, this determines whether or not he can use his stance moves, which are ways he can fire his guns.
If I had to summarize the stances, his 214S (Steady Aim) is the zoning stance, and his 5H/236S (At the Ready) is his offensive stance. You pick what you do depending on the match-up. He’s a fun, flexible character that is fun to theory-craft and build matchups with.
In terms of match-ups, he’s good against slow characters (because of his zoning) but struggles against fast characters and characters with good lunging moves. As far as specifics, he felt good vs Zato, Ino and Faust. I felt pretty uncomfortable against Giovanna, Chipp and Ky.”
Diaphone (Competitive Fighting Game Player and Content Creator)
“I think Happy Chaos is most likely the best DLC character so far and has the potential to be really strong. I think this potential may be hard to see at first, the character is very technical (second most technical in the game behind Zato?), but his unique mechanic of being able to use his HS gun at any time is very strong. It will just take time for people to discover all of the applications for it. Some of the applications, like being able to get a full combo off of a 2P and being able to get a wall break from mid-screen without meter, already seem like very good strengths for the character.
Another promising sign is that the two best Happy Chaos players I’ve seen so far – SonicFox and Gobou, play the character very differently, with SonicFox opting to rush down more and Gobou opting to zone more. Anytime you have a character that can be played successfully in different ways, I think it’s a sign the character can be good, and most likely an optimal Happy Chaos is somewhere in the middle of these two playstyles.”
KenDeep (Competitive Fighting Game Player and Content Creator)
“I think Happy Chaos ended up really cool. By far he is the most free-form character in Strive. The amount of expression that you see in him is something that was standard in past Guilty Gear iterations, so I am happy to see that they have resumed having these character designs that allow that form of individuality.
When it comes to character strength, I think he will be strong but very volatile in match-ups. While he actually does well against Nagoriyuki and Sol, he really suffers against Leo and May, in my opinion, due to their ability to rush in and create intense offense with no reversal option available for HC.
Some match-ups are really ambiguous to me as of now. The Axl match-up could end up being heavily in HC’s favour as the presence of his gun completely negates any Rensen approaches. But at the same time, Axl’s normals give HC a hard time, so time will tell where this match-up is going to end up.
All in all, I think he has a lot of strong tools, and similarly to Chipp in Xrd, he can do “almost anything”, but if you mess up once, you will probably lose as a result. He’s that kind of all or nothing character, and I can’t wait to see how players will approach him in different ways.”
ElvenShadow (Top US Faust Player and Frosty Faustings Founder)
“Happy Chaos was designed to be a much more unique character compared to a lot of the cast in Strive. The freedom with how he can combo gunshots opens up a lot of possibilities for combos and pressure. Even though they are both gun characters, Happy Chaos plays very differently from how Elphelt did in the Xrd series and feels like a unique experience.
I think he is a welcomed addition to the cast, and I feel he has a lot of potential to be a very strong character.”
DaikenXDan (Fighting Game Enthusiast and Content Creator)
“Happy Chaos brings more uniqueness to the world of Guilty Gear with his unorthodox design as a gunslinging character! I am always eager to see characters that spark the interest of creative fighting game players and how they develop them to their individual playstyles.
Happy Chaos is an excellent addition to the game with strong freestyle pressure and confirmability in the right hands.
Happy Chaos being a very technical character, however, must manage a lot of resources properly, all while having some fairly difficult combo execution to pull off. While he doesn’t have the best frame data, he naturally can cover this weakness through his resource management of his Bullets and Concentration meter. I think HC has the flexibility to be played at range effectively or up close with some of the best tick throw pressure in the game due to his scary wall splat resets.
Overall, HC, in my opinion, will only get better overtime as he is a very high ceiling character with endless potential for improvement to both his combos and setups. I look forward to seeing what people do with this character in future competitive play!”
Rooflemonger (Fighting Game Content Creator and Twitch Partner)
“Happy Chaos is a fully unique character in that literally nobody else in all of fighting games plays like him. His unique gun mechanic is pretty crazy because it changes the whole flow of what normally is/isn’t possible, both on hit and on block in fighting games. As it relies on ‘negative edge’ (when you let go of the button rather than when you press) and the fact it hits FRAME 1 after you let go anywhere on the screen is insane.
Despite being the “gun guy”, his overall zoning isn’t really dominant (at least in my opinion now, maybe someone will prove me wrong later), but what the gun really unlocks is some pretty unreal pressure and mix-up gimmicks. It’s so strong, I think, that’s why it has to be contained with two separate meters in Bullets and Concentration.
I do think though while he’s a triumph of design in his uniqueness, he’s simply too difficult for the average player to get much out of him. It’s kind of a trend with the last DLCs as Goldlewis and Jack-O are the least played characters now as well. The DLC characters are much, much harder than average to use compared to the rest of the cast, so I think it will take quite a while for someone to truly unlock his potential. He’s not a character you can “solve” in the first week or so of release, that’s for sure.”
The Hosts of DoubleTap Podcast
“Happy Chaos is really a unique character, and I’m happy his gameplay is just as different. Nothing like having a fat glock to bring to a fist (sometimes sword) fight. After taking him online for a week, he definitely will make your fingers, hands, and brains hurt until you get a flow. So, Arcsys has again released a DLC character with a unique mechanic and the second to have resources be a major component to your approach. With not being as high of an APM (actions per minute) as Jack-O is but requiring twice as much resource managing, HC isn’t an easy character to master.
Between managing your precious ammo and Concentration bar, you’ll have to have as much focus as possible to ensure your combos, approach, and value are returned to you with every move. But once you do have an understanding and a flow with every 2D to reload or when to properly spend meter to either callout an opponent with Deus Ex Machina (Gun Super) or his Focus super to lower the use of the Concentration bar, making you a trigger-happy maniac for a few seconds, it’ll feel good. After several matches, it all started to make sense in some chaotic way, but even after it did, there were some glaring issues.
He has terrible wake up options, no real wake ups, and limited anti-air options; 6P or a hard HS button, also known as “Bang!”, are pretty much your only options. He can pretty much get mauled by anybody with major advancements, especially in the air. I think Millia might be one of his worst match-ups: You get knocked down, you might as well pray on the wake up. But these are just initial impressions after a week or so. Once there is more time put in and the tech develops, we’ll see how happy you can be creating some chaos.”
Mezza (also Content Creator for HNC eSports)
“Happy Chaos is a unique new addition to Strive. He requires a lot of attention to tool management due to his kit being very vast and different compared to the rest of the cast. He has strong pros but lingering cons that can be considered difficult for newer players to enjoy at a consistent rate.
Being able to utilize the revolver and shoot during his lack of plus frames allows for serious pressure that leads to many options of opening up the opponent. This is just one of his really strong attributes that most characters require Roman Cancelling to cover.
A negative would be his high requirements and attention to detail when managing his bullet consumption, as well as his health usage due to his one move that creates a clone based on life. Overall, I think this character will take time to continue to develop but has more of an old school Guilty Gear vibe that allows for more freedom of play.”
“Happy Chaos, in terms of popularity, actually dropped off a bit in some lobbies. You could say he’s already found his niche audience. I personally couldn’t get a good grasp of him.
The Bullet and Concentration management is sort of reminiscent of Sin Kiske in Xrd. In fighting against the character, however, with I-No, I’ve been having a very difficult time getting in, and it’s risky. It’s an interesting fight because both players have to be mindful of his meter.
Even though he has a strong keep away, he has very strong corner carry, whether it’s by juggling you to the corner with fire (HS) or by what I have been seeing, looping 5k and 6k into fire, and once at the corner, reload. Overall, he’s a very dangerous character, but with no wake up options, he struggles defensively.”
ScrubQuotes (FGC Enthusiast)
“Happy Chaos is a failure of intuitive game design.”