Arcana Heart 3/AH3/Zenia Valov
She'll punch you in your mouth. Zenia is a fierce close range character with speed and power to match. Shes great for people that don't mind working to get in, but like to have the tools to stay in and get busy.
Approach and Keep-Out
Zenia has good air normals, but since her speed is only average she cannot bulldog her way in versus a proper player. Normally you want to get a bit of respect from your opponent and work your way into a more ambiguous range before trying to make the commitment to getting in.
This is where her keep-away comes into play. Zenia has very good ground movement with her Subjugating Wind special, which moves her forward while her upper body is invincible. You can use this to run away from your opponent when they approach from too high. For air-to-air when facing stronger hitboxes and normals won't do, you can just use an air Edinorog (j.623x) to keep them out with your massive pilebunker hitbox.
Zenia's Anti-Air game is not to laugh at either, between her 4 frame startup 5B - which can clash into her 3 frame 5A, and her 236x~C followup which is an air unblockable anti air with upper body invincibility. These various tools give Zenia the respect she needs in order to get into the more mid-range situation that she needs.
If your opponent ever stays on the ground versus Zenia at mid-range, they are susceptible to a Subjugating Wind approach at any time.
Pressure and Mixup
Lows: 2B, 2C
Highs: 236x~B, TK 623x
Crossups: j.B, j.E, dashing TK 623x
Frame advantage attacks: 5B(+3), 2B(+3), 236x~A(+2)
Jump Cancels: 5A, 2A, 5B, 2B(super jump only)
All A attacks are neutral on block, and her 236x~C second hit is also positive on block, but unsafe to guard cancel, so it should not be used that way.
It's recommended to use a good combination of frame traps, subjugating wind mixups, jump cancel mixups, and tick throws. You can dash in after a B attack and still have it be a strong frame trap versus characters with slower normals, and it's still a good option when used with care versus those who do.
Zenia's pilebunker, affectionately named Edinorog is literally one of her main tools. When you execute any of her Edin attacks, you can hold the button to charge the attack. There is three levels:
Green: You get this charge if don't charge at all, don't charge long enough, or charge too long. Causes techable wall-slams from the ground, and a techable knockdown from the air. The ground versions cannot be air-blocked, but the air one can.
Red: You get this charge for letting go of the button anywhere in the red portion of the Edin gauge. Ground versions cause an untechable wall-bounce that you can combo from, and the air version causes an untechable ground-bounce that can also be comboed from. All versions of red Edin cannot be air blocked, but they can all be ground blocked.
Gold: You get this charge for letting go of the button exactly as it is in the center of the yellow portion of the gauge. This is 1 frame timing. Combo properties are similar to the red version, except for now they all do more damage, and cause less damage scaling. In addition, all versions of gold Edin are completely unblockable.
El Dorado - This is a special power-up super that Zenia has. This super charges up Edinorog so that the entire gauge (except for the yellow part) becomes red. What this means, is that you can release your red Edin charges much faster than usual, allowing for instant overhead combos (or just delayed overhead attempts from a regular jump-in), sneaky air-to-air unblockable attempts, and improved combo-ability.
Zenia is a great close range fighter, so arcana that improve on her damage / oki or give her the tools to get in work well for her.
Good for okizeme and corner damage. Doesn't aid Zenia in neutral much, but you can use j.E > 236E/236236E anywhere on the screen for some good mixup opportunities. In the corner, you can use 214x[red] HC6 2[E] > 66 214x[red] as an inescapable reset. The opponent can jump to stop you from looping this setup, but the first reset will always work. It can also be combined with her EFC resets to do even more damage, she has 100%'s in the corner this way.
Not recommended for matchups where you needs lots of meter, or help getting in.
Great for zoning as well as increased damage from air confirms. However, using Fire does mean that Zenia will lose all of her regular EFC combos that set up okizeme, as well has her EFC reset combos.
From air confirms you can combo into 236E then NHC into a speed boost to extend the combo with j.B or C right before you land. Probably a few meterless combo options with 214E available as well.
Good for okizeme, survival, and a bit of zoning. Overall Flower is one of Zenia's best picks, and she has a few combos specific to flower. Not getting counterhit is great for a character that often takes risks as Zenia does, and Flower has no clear weakness. During EFC combos, you can drop flowers, then OTG and cancel into 236E or 236236E for strong projectile okizeme. From air combos, j.E > 236E is a pretty good setup.
After a 214x[red] in the corner, you can either super cancel into 214214E and dash in to continue the combo with 5A, or you can do 236236E for damage, then link into 2C for oki (going into your regular OTG setups).
Good for zoning, survival, and meter generation. Of this list of recommended arcana, Love has the highest overall meter generation, as well as the best zoning tools. Since Zenia will often be in matchups where improved neutral is highly desired, this is a high synergy combination at the fundemental level. Though this is not to say that she can't capitalize on a strong matchup even more by picking a more aggressive arcana.
Love arcana blaze is one of the best in the game, and a good round ender when used as a reset since it is burst proof when timed right. Other than using 236E/236236E/623E/214E for zoning and  for float, the longer EF duration of love does ensure that Zenia can always do her full EF combos.
Good for turtling and damage. A rather outdated pick for Zenia IMO but it still works great with the right playstyle. Standard Metal gimmicks apply, the only special synergy here is that Zenia's EFC combos are good for setting up various things - including shields and level ups. Once you're leveled up, a charged pilebunker into silver or gold swords should do massive damage.
While sword damage is nice, probably the biggest benefit to gain from Metal is the shield. With level 2 and 3 shield available, Zenia can do whatever she wants. Such as overusing her command grab, dominating in neutral, and what have you.
The biggest drawback is of course, needing to find the opportunities to charge your homing gauge.
Good for Zoning, meterless combos, and okizeme. In AH3.01 Plant is one of the strongest Arcanas and it really shows even with Zenia. 2C second hit always juggles into 236E properly, allowing for meterless combos from all normal confirms. Because you have so many meterless combos, you can build more meter, and then blow it on j.214214E for mixup chances.
Having a giant unclashable vine is good for anyone, including Zenia. While the meter generation isn't as fast as doing EFC combos with Love, and the Okizeme isn't as strong as Dark, plant is still one of Zenia's best Arcanas all around, don't forget about it.
Note that I haven't tried seeing if she has any good unblockable setups from EFC combos with plant, if she does, the statement about it having worse okizeme than Dark would actually be debatable. Still wouldn't do as much damage, though.
A sub par arcana, but Zenia has a 100% reset with it. I don't know the combo off-hand, I don't recommend playing this way since it's gimmicky, and guaranteed resets are going to be gone in LoveMax!!!!! anyway.
A bit of a middle ground between Flower and Love, but also a bit of it's own thing. Sin is great for neutral with it's j.236236E and Zenia's j.E height from normal combos sets it up wonderfully. From her EFC combos she is able to set up both a 214E (trap) and 236E (sinball) to make for some truly undeniable pressure.
However, since Sin has slower charged E moves, she cannot do her standard EFC resets. This will be less of a problem in LoveMax!!!!! where she does not use them anyway.
Good for damage, okizeme, and clashing. Another premium Zenia pick in AH3.01. 28a/b > 623x[red] (wait) 214214E > air combo is probably the highest damage 1 meter combo she has available midscreen. Clashing with dash and charged E moves is high synergy for Zenia since all of her jabs come out in 3 frames, giving her a solid clash game.
While Thunder's 236E isn't that great for zoning, it does give Zenia good options in specific matchups such as Cathy, Yoriko, and Nazuna (especially Yoriko, since the other arcana specials won't break her super pent shield like lightning does).
Good for neutral / zoning, survival, and okizeme. Pushblock is actually really good for Zenia because she has no reversals to use out of forward guard cancel. Other than that she just reaps the usual benefits of wind. Situational meterless combos, increased air combo damage, and good okizeme with 214E that is hard to deny. Not really high synergy, wind is just really strong in AH3.01.
Basic Air Combos
...j9.(A) B 6B > dj9.6B C 623x
...j9.(A) B 6B > dj9.6B E
2A 2B 2C 236A~C
2A 2B 2C 214[x](red)
2A 2B 2C 6B 214[x](green)
(corner) 2A 2B 6A > 2A 5B > air combo
(anti air) 5B / 5A > air combo
5AD > j8.NH~D > A B 6B > dj9.B C 623x (you can use a NHC or EFC variant to make this easier)
2A 2B 2C HC6 > 2A 5C 236A~A > 2A 5B > air combo
2B 2C HC6 > 2A 5C 236A > 2A 5C 236A~A > air combo
2AAA 2B 236AB (used for when 2C is out of range to combo right)
236x~AD(red) > NHC j.B 6B > dj9.6B C 623x
(corner) 2A 2B 2C 6B 214x(red) > NHC dj9.B C > land 5B > air combo
2A 2B 2C EFC > 66 6B 5C 2C 236A > 5A 6B 5C 2C 236A > 6B 5C 2C 236A > OTG hit
2A 2B 2C EFC > 66 6B 5C 2C 236A > 5A 6B 5C 2C 236A > OTG hit (for short EF arcanas such as dark and flower and jumpins)
j.B 2A 2B 2C EFC > 66 5AA 5B > j9.6B E C > land 6B 5C 2C 236A > OTG hit (for short EFs and jumpins)
236x~B EFC > 66 6B 5C 2C 236A~A > 2A 5C 2C 236A > 6B 5C 2C 236A > OTG hit
236x~B EFC > 66 6B 5C 2C 236A~A > 2A 5C 2C 236A > OTG hit (for short EFs)
236x~C(1) EFC > (5B) > j9.6B E C > land 6B 5C 2C 236A > 6B 5C 2C 236A > OTG hit (skip the 5B if they get anti-aired from high)
236x~AD EFC > NH j.B C E B > dj9.B C 623x
EFC + 1 Homing
(midscreen) 2B 5C 236A~A EFC > 66 5B 5C E 6A NHC j.B > land 5B > j9.6B C E > land 5B > air combo
(corner) 2B 5C 236A~A EFC > 66 5B 5C E 6A 214x(red) > 6A 214x(red) NHC > dj9.B C > land 5B > air combo
(corner) 2B 5C 236A~A EFC > 66 5B 5C E 6A 214x(red) > 6A 214x(red) > arcana super (such as love laser, or multilayer)
- Note - These are reset combos. To practice them properly, set the training dummy to guard all, but not change guard states. Start the combo from a high if they are crouching, or a low if they are standing. When you do the reset, they should be guard broken. So long as you start charging 2[E] as soon as 5C hits - which is really easy to do - this is an inescapable reset as of AH3.01.
Note: Click on the images of the moves to see the full frames.
3 frame startup jab that can chain into itself. Wiffs most crouchers. Not a good anti-air on it's own, but good to use in an anti-air clash situation. However if that clash is especially deep, 5A can still wiff them as they fly too low.
Hits mid. Same frame data as 5A, but it hits lower. Used for starting a lot of your strings, and stagger pressure / baiting guard cancels. Use this instead of 5A versus low anti-air clashes.
4 Frame startup anti-air. Because it's so fast, you want to do it pretty late. It has a couple frame of clash in the middle of the startup (1 normal startup, followed by 2 clash, another normal startup, then 4 active frames). While this move may be great as an anti-air, it's also a high proration combo starter and won't wiff crouchers. Feel free to use it in your offense as much as you'd like.
Not a very good poke since it just causes a soft knockdown on hit, and isn't good on block like her other B normals. However, this move does have head clash from frames 1-3, so you can use this to clash high projectiles, or as a last second anti-air.
One of Zenia's 2 lows, and the best one. It's a good thing this move is 4 frames just like her 5B, or her low mixup would be pretty poor. Hard to confirm from safely since it only goes into supers and her C moves, and as such it's recommended you don't auto-pilot those options too much so that you avoid getting beaten by obvious guard cancels.
Thankfully this move is good on block and also super jump cancelable, so you have plenty of options more safe than going into a C move.
Zenia's 5C is almost strictly a combo tool. It does have sizable clash during the startup which is good versus projectiles, but care should be taken if you want to use this attack as a poke. Since it's so heavy, doing it once in awhile in pressure then canceling into a 236x isn't too bad.
Surprisingly, this move is completely safe on block, barring a guard cancel situation.
This is Zenia's most basic move to hit-confirm into. Also a decent poke as long as you're pretty sure it won't wiff. This move has early startup clash on the head, followed by a gap, then low profile during the active frames. Despite it's appearances, this move is completely safe on block barring a guard cancel situation.
Because this is a 2 hit move with both hits causing the sweep effect, you can often link after this move into another one when it hits an airborne opponent without even spending meter.
That said, I don't recommend using this move as an anti air very often due to the sluggish startup. Good to use as a delayed low-mixup, though.
Air unblockable, no deflect for some reason, but this move does have startup-clash just before the active frames - making it a good meaty and "don't do things" button. Charged version is extremely slow and you probably don't want to use it outside of OTG combos.
Air unblockable, deflects, and your go-to air unblockable for air-guard strings on the ground. It's slow enough to be pretty unsafe, but the fact that it exists, and almost always connects after a 5B means it gets the job done. You will not want to be too predictable about using this move like this, but it must be used.
Note that you can just barely combo from 2E for no meter. Hold up during the recovery, and do NH~~D~A to execute a fast homing into j.A > air combo. It takes some practice, and you can just use EFC/HC combos until you get it down with some consistency.
Another 3 frame jab! Good for jumping into your opponent and tapping them. Chains into itself just like the ground versions and can also be jump canceled, so feel free to mash it.
Since this move hits mostly above Zenia, you will want to avoid jumping in with it.
Easily Zenia's best all-around air normal. It's a fast jumpin, good air-to-air at most heights, and can also cross up when timed properly - especially in the corner.
Since this is Zenia's main jump-in, main air-to-air, and main cross-up, you will probably be pushing this button a lot. Also chains into j.6B which is extremely useful for hit-confirms, and combos.
Same startup as her j.B, but the hitbox isn't quite as stellar. This move does however have a few frames of startup clash right at the start just like her 6B does on the ground. Use it to go through weaker projectiles, and possibly initiate clash battles if you feel the need to do that.
This move is really sluggish, but because of how far her foot goes out this is still a strong move. If you opponent actually gives you enough distance to NH, or speed NH into this move properly (i.e. it's already out as you get into range), it's super difficult to anti-air.
However because of it's slow speed, you probably won't be using it like that too often. As of AH3.01, this move is best used outside of homing for more basic jump-ins and keep-away for it's range.
A big dorky move that can crossup. Whenever it hits, including on the ground, this attack will cause a soft knockdown - giving it limited uses as a mixup. However, there's still plenty of reason to push this button.
This attack has startup clash from frame 1 all the way to active. The downside is that this clash is where her arm descends, so only directly in front of her. This move is good for clashing anti-airs, and going through projectiles - but only at the right angle.
The startup clash combined with hitbox that sort of covers all-around her just a bit, makes this a decent move to use as a full screen approach if you have projectile cover out. Not really ideal, but it gets the job done.
|Howling Black Hurricane 「吼える黒きウラガーン」 - 6ABC
Zenia punches forward with her armed fist. Good range, probably her longest range special on the ground. Functionality depends on the version. All versions can be canceled into 214x on hit.
|Raging Dark Tornado 「猛る暗きタルナーダ」- 8ABC
Anti-air version of Howling Black Hurricane. Not the best set of anti-airs, but they are air unblockable. These specials can be canceled into 623x on hit, but not on block. Also note that this move cannot be homing or EF canceled at all, so the 623x is your only method of followup.
|Golden Edinorog 「金色のイディナローク」 - 214 or 623ABC
One of Zenia's signature attacks actually firing her pilebunker. Other than what was covered in the strategy section for this move, note that even uncharged the ground version is quite slow. The anti-air version (623x) is especially slow, there is almost no reason to use it outside of combos.
|Subjugating Whirlwind 「征くはヴィールヒ」 - 236ABC
Probably Zenia's most used special. This attack is a Dudley-like "Sway". Upper body invincible from frame 1 on all versions, and followups are available to you once the recovery reaches a certain point.
|Disturbed Gust 「掻き乱すパルイーフ」 - ABC [During Whirlwind]
|Bell Piercing Night 「コーラカルを穿つ夜」 - AD [During Whirlwind]
Command grab, it has a lot of recovery on wiff. When you input this, make sure you hold down a button right away to start charging edin or you'll miss it and get green. But when you do charge it, it does a large chunk of damage and you can combo from it using EFC or HC.
This is essentially a high-risk high-reward command grab. In AH3LM, Zenia is actually able to use it mid-combo as well.
|Distant El Dorado 「エリダラーダは遠過ぎて」 - 421A+B
Charges up Edinorog as described in the strategy section. This move has quite a bit of recovery, so you probably don't want to use it randomly. It is however good to use fullscreen at neutral if you're opponent isn't in a position to punish it (maybe if you have a projectile out, or they are in recovery).
Normally this move is used at the end of an EFC combo though. At the last 2C, just cancel it into 421AB immediately. You should still have time to dash up and OTG with 5C or a B move.
|War Resounding Impulse 「戦火に響くタルチオーク」 - j.214A+B [AIR ONLY]
It hits low. When you activate this super, Zenia will hop up a bit, then plummet straight to the ground with her fist, causing a huge shock-wave that hits the whole ground. The shock-wave can be homing, and EFC canceled on both hit and wiff. It actually hits above the ground more than you would think, which is how she is able to juggle into it from an air combo, but it also means that it can still punish people that are floating just above the ground. On hit it gives you a sweep effect knockdown, so you're able to gain initiative from anywhere on the screen without spending meter.
In combos, you use this move after j.623x or j.E to cause a sweep knockdown instead of a soft knockdown. It only works higher in the air, and (outside of EF) you will need to make sure that your height is about equal to your opponents for it to link properly.
Outside of combos, this move is mostly useful as a punisher. You can use it on reaction to your opponent doing unsafe things fullscreen when on, or near the ground. You can either use it from the air, or TK it from the ground. It comes out quite fast when TK'd as the fall time does increase the startup.
|Unbeatable Matador 「タレアドールは倒れない」 - 236A+B
Upper body invincible just like the rest of her 236x series, so it can be used to punish some things. However, you'll mostly want to use this move for combos. 236AB is Zenia's most basic hitconfirm from 2C, a vital hitconfirm from 2B at certain ranges, as well as her 236x~B overhead.
Do not combo into this move from 2C first hit. When this super connects at too low of a height, the auto combo will not connect properly. The only way to fix that is to EFC or HC6 during the initial portion and link a 2A before they hit the ground and the first ground-slam punch misses.
The super will not connect entirely valid if you do it at the end of a longer combo either, such as a full EFC combo from a jump-in for example.
When comboing into it from your usual situations (aka, shorter combos), you can actually extend the combo. After the uppercut, you can either EFC, HC6 or arcana super to extend. A couple examples are given below.
|Ending Separation - Farewell 「終わりを告げるラススタヴァーニィ」 63214A+B [During Whirlwind]
Needs to actually be executed during the dash of a Whirlwind, not the recovery. So from the A version, you will need to input it rather quickly, though the B and C versions are a bit more lenient.
On the regular version, the first hit is a guard crush. On the EF version, it happens on the second hit. Neither of these guard crushes are useful versus an opponent who knows the matchup, because they can just 4D it on reaction in both cases. If it does guard crush though, the rest of the super will combo properly.
After pinning her victim to the wall rugal-style, and punching them a few times for good measure, Zenia will grab her their face and start to charge her pilebunker, so make sure to hold down a button during the punches! Once she starts charging, you just want to aim for releasing on the gold line like usual. Getting gold is much more lenient during her critical heart because the gauge moves slower.
On the EF version, there will be 3 very fast charges before the final one. Damage is higher on the EF version of course, quite a lot higher if you are good enough to get gold on most or all of the hits.
For both versions, if you get gold you will be pushed back a lot further. It is possible to followup with an OTG 2B after both red and gold. But getting the timing for 6D > 2B OTG after a gold takes a bit of practice.
You get more damage the faster you combo into this move, so aim for short combos into critical heart for massive damage. It does well above average damage.
|Color 1||Color 2||Color 3||Color 4||Color 5|
|Color 6||Color 7||Color 8||Color 9||Color 10|
|RELATIONSHIP 1||RELATIONSHIP 2||RELATIONSHIP 3|
|HEARTFUL 1||HEARTFUL 2||HEARTFUL 3|