Footsies Is The Wave.
Thanagarian Intelligence VaultHawkgirl is an incredibly mobile hit and run character that relies on her strong chip specials and burst damage to bring down opponents. She lacks strong 50/50 mix ups midscreen, but due to her having an immense amount of safe or even plus chip it balances out. She shares similar character design concepts with Doomsday and Green Arrow.
In general, Hawkgirl usually loses match ups against characters who can contain her heavily via heavy zoning or movement restriction and shines against characters with minimal or weak answers to her very strong mobility. Not being able to fly does not equal a losing match up to be clear, there's more to every match up than that linear perspective.
I am of the opinion that wing evade is the future of this character's success as it allows her to get out of frame traps, avoid a huge plethora of projectile zoning tools (one of her weaknesses is heavy zoning and movement restriction), interrupt frame gaps in strings for full combos and even bypass special moves that are normally safe and making them full combo punishable.
Despite the popular misconception about this character, I feel that she is even stronger when played with a strong footsie game as the focus. It is essential for her just like it is for any other character.
Being able to make the seamless transition from strong rushdown to runaway zoning is a huge must for this character as well. but of course this is all situational and match up based. Hawkgirl has one of the best anti-airs in the game in down 2 that allows her to heavily discourage jump ins and force a more grounded approach.
As a character, I feel confident that Hawkgirl despite her flaws fulfills her hit and run, heavy chip and mobility design incredibly well and rounds out around the 16-18 location overall.
What follows below is over a year's worth of research via offline, online, and lab time I've put into Hawkgirl. I have played her as a main since release and have put a lot of time and effort into this project.
Disclaimer: You are free to disagree with any points I have made, but please keep discussions to relevant issues and facts. Do not throw in my face who you've played or make arguments that are not relevant to the tools of each character.
Despite how much time I spent on this, I have a very open mind. There is so much more to learn for myself and everyone else too, nobody is above growing in perspective no matter how good they may or may not be as players. We're all in different places on our own respective journeys through Injustice and fighting games as a whole.
Now without further adieu, let's go!
Aquaman: "I can do this all day!"
Hawkgirl has the benefit of bypassing from the deep and other forms of Aquaman's traditional zoning/lame game by virtue of her trait. Aquaman has really superb jump normals for stuffing mace charge, wing evade and knocking her out of the air alongside water shield to lame it out reasonably well with a life lead as a counterbalance.
Hawkgirl isn't a combo intensive character and is mostly about chip and burst damage so his trait isn't a big detriment to her game and most of her specials and strings leave her in plus frames or in a guessing game situation for each player. Aquaman's chip is stronger due to MB trident rush, but in some cases she can punish it with down 1 special at certain ranges.
They both can oki each other very well on all parts of the screen. The match up is incredibly lame and about whoever can get a lifelead first and maintain it. Hawkgirl generally sets the pace and due to her bypassing a great deal of his zoning tools, this allows her to get in relatively quickly and avoid chip with her mobility or turtle fairly well in trait. Jumping in on either character carries a huge risk since both characters have some of the best down 2's in the game.
Ares: "Gonna find out what that bell on your head sounds like...."
The crux of this match up is that flight allows her to hover above dark energy, sword, and axe zoning while being able to simultaneously zone and counter-zone Ares with relative ease. Flight normals, dive kick and well spaced mace charges can beat out teleport jump in normal attempts to blow up flight or her zoning him back so it's a guess for both parties.
Ares jump 1 is good for air to airs and has a commanding air presence at times, but since Hawkgirl can control the ground well with down 2 this isn't game changing.
Up close sometimes Ares has important mids whiff, interrupting down 1 sword cancels with your own down one 1 is pretty straight forward and Hawkgirl can pressure him well and unlike other zoners, he can't really keep her out and she is free to use trait in most cases really well and can transition to rushdown or a lame zoning game relatively easily. Couple this with her ability to disrespect his frame traps via wing evade and such and this makes it hard for Ares to get going. Her wake ups are solid for getting out of Godsmack set ups in many cases and like all the cast, MB back 3/forward 3 is an option if you're unsure if you can time your wake up well.
Even with teleports, Ares' mobility is lackluster in general so he has a hard time getting in and establishing pressure while simultaneously having a hard time dealing with pressure, which plays into Hawkgirl's hit and run style nicely.
Bane: "Hope your armor holds up."
The ultimate cat and mouse game, Hawkgirl's mobility and zoning allow her to chip Bane out reasonably well, but his venom cycles reducing the damage he takes alongside his strong dashes and mobility helps to equalize this match up quite a bit.
Wing evade 3 and MB mace toss are effective against Bane's venom attacks if spaced well. Wing evade 3 can go through charges and other armor moves while giving her the opportunity to punish the whiffs. MB mace toss is especially effective versus venom levels below level three as it armor breaks and grants a knockdown that stalls venom time.
Bane's oki game really blows her up on knockdown and makes her guess like any other character and his strong down 2, down 1 and back dash mobility allow him to easily keep her in check in the footsie and mobility game.
The perk for Hawkgirl on Bane's debuff is that because she does really good burst damage in such a short time, she gets multiple shots at doing great damage to Bane whereas other characters may only get to get off one combo since they take much longer to execute. An additonal notable point is that during debuff, Bane can't really counterpoke Hawkgirl's wing evade pressure because his down 1 is too slow so if she does happen to catch him up close she can go to town before needing to go back to playing a spacing, lame game.
Venom uppercut is a good option to blow up Hawkgirl in flight; however, if Hawkgirl scouts this she can fly backwards and actually make it whiff and punish thus making your air footsies and spacing game being on point a must.
Mace toss cancels are a big asset in this match up as they allow you to bait Bane's armor and movement. Bane has a floaty jump so despite body splash being good, it's still very doable to regulate his jump ins and keep him grounded, but Bane also has a superb down 2 for keeping Hawkgirl in check.
Another huge point is that Bane's comeback factor due to venom levels is better than Hawkgirl's to a degree and despite the benefits of catching him on debuff, he isn't easy to catch during this due to his mobility and footsies. MB mace toss (ground or air are good option to do so) especially grounded version since it's plus and if you're near the corner you can potentially get a guaranteed mix up into full 50% plus combo.
Hawkgirl can wing evade charge and venom upper and punish both options. Standing 3 is a decent armor breaking normal and down 2 wing evade 3 can be timed to use the invincibility frames to counter armor.
They both have really irritating and strong answers to each other's game plans. Hawkgirl wins from afar and Bane wins up close with his armor, super strong oki game and having a better comeback factor, but Hawkgirl's comeback factor is still good enough to keep up with him along with her other aforementioned strengths.
Batgirl: "I'm a real pain in the ass huh!?"
To keep it simple, Batgirl's strong comeback factor, meterless vortex, ability to marginally lame out Hawkgirl and her strong options to shut down flight push this into being favorable to her.
Batgirl struggles to deal with Hawkgirl's up close pressure game especially due to having a slower down 1 than average. The other problem is that Batgirl is not particularly meter reliant for much of anything so she almost always wins a clash and since Hawkgirl generally doesn't do damage equal to hers nor does she generally force a clash (due to a lot of unclashable damage), this almost plays into it being easier for her to have meter to beat your clash.
Hawkgirl anti-airing Batgirl is risky because she can jump bait into teleport and full combo punish you into a vortex. Hawkgirl can wing evade bolas and MB mace toss if used well can be great for getting in and starting your pressure on Batgirl.
Down 1 can stuff out wake up cartwheel, but since she also has her flying bat uppercut, teleport and other options you have to approach each wake up differently whereas Batgirl can stuff out wake ups from Hawkgirl with cartwheel or jump normals making her have to guess more than Batgirl does.
Batman: "Don't mess with me Bats"
Batman's zoning covers many parts of the screen, but it is generally fairly slow. Hawkgirl's trait can be used to avoid straight batarangs and also used to avoid trait bats. Hawkgirl's trait flight spacing and zoning/counter-zoning has a place in the match up as well, but Hawkgirl has to be much more mindful of her spacing since Batman's zoning covers more bases than hers. Well spaced wing evade 3 can go over straight batarang zoning. After a blocked back 2, 3, Hawkgirl can do reversal mace charge to chase down Batman, which cannot be jumped out of, back dashed, or armored by Batman.
Thankfully with proper spacing you can sneak in mace tosses while evading up grapple and up batarangs and counter-zone to get in with MB mace toss. Batman's back dash being very good also aids him in his zoning and runaway game. Patience and competent air and ground footsies are essential to keep up with Batman.
On knockdown, Hawkgirl gets a particularly simple oki option with wing evade 2 as it beats parry and slide goes under it so Hawkgirl can punish slide on whiff with mace charge. If he blocks wing evade 2, she's +4 with potential follow up pressure.
Batman has tons of interruptible gaps in his strings that Hawkgirl can blow up for full combo via her down 1. Trait bats can be used to cover gaps at times.
Batman's normally strong jump game gets blow up really well due to Hawkgirl's superb down 2 regulating air space and a major part of his gameplan.
Straight grapple can also be great for movement restriction as it leads to combos thus compliments Batman's zoning game nicely.
Batman's parry can make pressuring him a bit trickier, but Hawkgirl also has multiple parry counters in wing evade 3, sweep, wing evade 2, mace charge and so on so it's a risk for both characters during pressure, but Hawkgirl can get good damage on parry baits.
Black Adam: "Hate to bludgeon a man when he's down"
The core of Hawkgirl's design allows her to entirely bypass low lightning and black magic, which limits his chip, zoning and counterzoning game allowing her to zone, chip and lame him out better than Black Adam can do to her.
Black Adam's jump 1 and dive kick mobility can help him get in and catch her flying at certain heights, but whiffed dive kicks can be punished with her dive kick. Mace charge can trade with dive kicks and the trade is favorable to Hawkgirl. She can punish dive kick with wing evade (not on block, it literally makes dive kick whiff and avoids chip).
Hawkgirl's ability to disrespect Black Adam's frame traps with wing evade off of strings like Back 2,3 and in addition to this reality, she can wing evade out of Black Adam's down 1, lightning hands and punish for full combo thus limiting his frame traps, chip and guessing games even further.
Black Adam's lightning hands can stuff wake up mace charge and his jump normals are an additional option.
Hawkgirl's delayed wing evade 3 can be used to punish wake up cage and lightning hands. Trait dive kick is an additional viable option alongside well timed jump normals.
Black Adam's footsies can keep up with Hawkgirl's due to the range of back 2 and dive kick among other things. His damage and cross up dive kick set ups can help him come back and insures he's never totally out of the fight. Hawkgirl still has to deal with Adam's trait cancels frames as well.
Low lightning and black magic's hitboxes not hitting too high in the air means Shayera can hover lower in trait and chuck straight maces sometimes, but must look out for dive kicks and be mindful of spacing.
The match is very close and competitive, but in the end Hawkgirl does what Black Adam does better in terms of pressure and lame game, allowing her to set the pace of the match up.
Catwoman: " Claws and Talons"
An awkward match up for both animal ladies, both get to play their respective games of hit and run for Hawkgirl and Catwoman's solid knockdown game is strong in this match up. It is similar to the Flash match up in the sense that both have multiple evasive moves that allow them to avoid some mace toss zoning and a strong special or normal that can knock Hawkgirl out of the air at far out ranges.
The difference however lies in the fact that Catwoman's walk speed is really bad, her forward dash is not as good as the Flash's, Flash generally does more damage and on top of that, she struggles hard on knockdown just like Hawkgirl does.
Catwoman's long ranged jump 2 is good for catching Hawkgirl in flight, but due to Catwoman lacking a strong full screen presence and having mobility issues this does not negate flight and due to Hawkgirl's strong down 2 and Catwoman's meh walkspeed/movement, playing on the ground isn't really a huge issue for Hawkgirl as she can keep up with her just fine in footsies and force her to take risks to approach her. Walking back is a huge problem for her and walk back wing evade 3 can also check jump ins if spaced well.
In many cases, Hawkgirl can also wing evade out of Catwoman's jump ins and in some cases punish, making it even harder for Catwoman to contain Hawkgirl and potentially commit to riskier options to blow this up.
Evade can reduce the amount of chip Catwoman takes while getting in, but it in no way means that Catwoman cannot be zoned or chipped out by maces especially if the timings are varied by Hawkgirl and MB mace toss is a good check on evades as well.
On knockdown, Catwoman's evasive back 3 stuffs wake up mace charge and wing evade thus launching Hawkgirl for a full combo and if Hawkgirl respects this option it allows Catwoman to set up her 50/50 mix up game. Unlike most back 3's, hers is negative so Hawkgirl can get her pressure game started after a blocked back 3 or retreat back to turtling or zoning if she chooses.
MB mace toss is a good option for stuffing out MB cat dash attempts both on knockdown and standing. Catdash at most ranges is punishable by forward 1,1 into full 30%+ combos.
Hawkgirl can full combo punish down 1, catclaws with wing evade 2 and this makes her string stagger frame traps less potent versus her as she has the threat of this option and can also go over down 1 pokes with wing evade as well.
Hawkgirls standing 3 is good for stuffing pretty much every wake up Catwoman has although her trait can make it trickier to guess. Trait can be stuffed with neutral jump into an attack so it's a bigger guess when she has trait loaded, but Hawkgirl can still make her guess on knockdown and open up more mix up options if she can get her to respect her options.
Due to Hawkgirl's mobility and safeness in addition to Catwoman having to chase her, take more risks and the like to contain her while having much weaker mobility means that despite Catwoman's solid answers to Hawkgirl on knockdown, zoning and air game wise, it ends up more or less keeping her in the fight more so than anything.
Cyborg: "Bout to get real up in here"
The gist of this match up is that Cyborg controls the air and can restrict your movement heavily with IAFB zoning to slow you down to walking, ducking and occasional dash or wing evade reads. However, Hawkgirl can wing evade ground fireballs and disrespect many of Cyborg's strings up close due to many having exploitable gaps. Her normals and pressure are better than his in terms of range. frames and damage for the most part so despite him winning the full screen zoning game, you are at least rewarded with this notable edge when you get past his zoning.
Due to most of Cyborg's plus frames being only marginally plus (+3 on his forward 2,2 string and around +1-2 on his down 1 and Sonic disruptor) she can bypass a lot of his frame traps with well timed wing evades and in some cases mace charges, making his already mediocre pressure a bigger gamble. Hawkgirl has to take more risks and grapple can be a big help for getting out of the corner with Cyborg, but due to MB mace toss she can use this to close the gap quickly if she scouts a grapple and potentially check him with this depending on range and plus frames. Sonic disruptor can also be evaded.
Hawkgirl can stuff all of Cyborg's wake ups easily with her 3, wing evade tech including power fist, sonic, disruptor, and techno tackle (this is an option select to where 3, wing evade 2 makes the tackle whiff and she can punish it with mace charge or wing evade 3).
Deathstroke: "Time to clip your wings"
Deathstroke essentially lames out Hawkgirl really well with his zoning, many of his gun shot tools are very fast so they're good for checking MB mace toss counter-zoning, really limiting trait and forcing Hawkgirl to walk, duck and make cautious reads on dashes and wing evades to get in on him. Deathstroke also happens to have strong jump normals that are good for stuffing her out of wing evade and mace charge such as jump 3.
Hawkgirl's up close pressure game works the same on Deathstroke as essentially any other character and she can check his jump ins well due to her strong down 2. Deathstroke's mix ups are generally better and forward 3 can stuff her wake ups without meter if timed well.
On the flipside, okizeme on Deathstroke can be a bit trickier for her than him since her 3 wing evade tech and other normal oki options don't work well due to sword flip and sword spin being reversed input wake ups, but it is still possible with the right conditioning. Hawkgirl can wing evade the last hit of MB rifle to avoid the chip and pushback.
Patience is an absolute must for this match up as Deathstroke sets the pace and zones her out really well and his ability to restrict her movement is a notable strength. Unlike other match ups of this type, he lacks a strong trait, strong chip damage or interactable hegemony that a character like Zod or Sinestro (with trait) posses so it ends up not being as bad as the others, but still boils down to a losing match up for her.
Doomsday: "Size doesn't matter dude."
Hawkgirl and Doomsday are similarly designed characters that rely on strong chip and burst damage makes this an incredibly balanced fight.
Doomsday's oki game is really strong versus Hawkgirl since body Splash and many of his other attacks and jump normals can stuff her out of her wake up options due to their big hitboxes. Hawkgirl however can keep Doomsday out of the air really well due to her strong down 2 blowing up body Splashes superbly.
Body splash can contain mace charge and wing evade 3 well in neutral too, but you can whiff punish body splashes well with a delayed wing evade 3.
The fact that Hawkgirl can wing evade out of many of Doomsday's special cancels including down 1 Earth shaker and 2,2 Earth shaker means that Doomsday has to either use slower options or raw ES more often than usual to check Hawkgirl and that opens him up even more to being stuffed by Hawkgirl's strong down 1 and faster normals.
After a successfully blocked raw ES in the corner due to the fact that Hawkgirl's down 1 is faster and rivals Doomsday's in terms of range, she can check him back. Doomsday's traditional oki and corner pressure is effective and can lock down Hawkgirl in the corner. Dash up raw ES, wake up reversal attempts or slower normals can be stuffed out by her strong down 1 to reverse pressure or get out of the corner. 2,2, up 3 after an on hit down 1 or wing evade 3 are good options for getting out of the corner.
Hawkgirl's corner damage outshines Doomsday's and she gets much more reward generally for opening him up in the corner than Doomsday does. Doomsday's goal is to lock her down in the corner and keep her there. Raw earth shaker stuffs all wake ups in the corner.
Both characters have good options for blowing up each other's traits as well. Down 1 and especially wing evade 3 allow Hawkgirl to annoy Doomsday, damage him and stall his trait due to the fact that wing evade 3 recovers quickly and sends her through his body to the other side fairly far away.
His trait on the flipside, makes mace charge unsafe as he can take the hit and punish so during trait it is usually best to stick to safe options that recover quickly. However, using MB mace charge around the time Doomsday's trait is about to expire can also be a good option to either get frame advantage or punish him.
Hawkgirl's trait can be used from time to time in this match up, but Doomsday has air snatch, upward venom and even supernova can be used to ground full screen Hawkgirl, but at the expense of meter in some cases.
The Post MB venom guessing game generally favors Hawkgirl since after post blocked venom she can wing evade over the down 1 and punish for 30% plus or she can wing evade over the down 1 thus encouraging him to do raw ES, another MB venom, or sweep, which can be poked out of and punished for full combo.
Doomsday is a character that cannot duck Hawkgirl's ground mace tosses thus he must deal with her plus on block mace tosses and MB ground mace toss can be great for stuffing out venom in attempts and especially on wake up and at worst if Doomsday blocks on wake up he's still eating chip damage and Hawkgirl remains plus on block.
First hit is huge in this match up too as they are both heavily momentum based characters that are hard to stop once they get going.
The fact Hawkgirl is less meter reliant in comparison to Doomsday for her safe mobility is a huge asset for her as well.
3 cancelled into wing evade 2 on knockdown covers up venom, regular venom and other common wake up options and can be converted into full combos. Both rival each other in damage, design concepts, oki ability, general damage and strong answers for each other's traits and shenanigans, making this an incredibly competitive, fun match up.
Flash: "Fastest man alive? That explains why you can't get a date."
This match up is similar to the Catwoman match up in the sense that both have a counter-zoning move (in this case shake for Flash) and a special (lightning uppercut) or jump normal to deal with zoning and flight pretty well. The difference is that Flash has a better walk speed, dash and deals with interactables better than Catwoman. On top of this, his oki on Hawkgirl is just as good if not better (he can use meterless forward 3 to stuff mace charge, which is similar to Catwoman's back 3). Flash also does more damage as a whole counting trait and with awesome corner carry.
Hawkgirl can still zone periodically with proper spacing and her footsies with down 1, down 2 and so on are a good check to Flash's forward 2 and other slower, ranged normals that can hinder him. She can make it hard to approach her on the ground as Flash and she regulates air space well to make an air approach very risky.
Since her long ranged pokes like wing evade and mace charge are safe or in some cases fairly plus he has a hard time checking her on block. Flash can interrupt down 1 special cancels with flying uppercut, but the risk reward is in Hawkgirl's favor as he gets minuscule damage, but Hawkgirl gets a full combo and can send him away.
He struggles to frame trap Hawkgirl due to her wing evade disrespecting his frame traps like back 2,2 into down 1 can be crushed by wing evade 2 into full combo. Flash can use down 2 to beat this option, but it boils down to a risk for him and makes it even harder to contain Hawkgirl up close. Mace charge spaced well beats his lightning charge in neutral as well.
Green Arrow: "Bring it, Arrow boy."
Hawkgirl and Green Arrow both have a commonality in the sense that they both have hit and run attributes.
Green Arrow's zoning and chip damage is fairly weak, it's mostly just annoying if anything. Regular arrows do next to no damage on hit or block and thus even a blocked mace toss equals around two on hit arrows. Mace tosses on hit make the disparity wider. Even trading and getting knocked down with regular arrows, the trade is still heavily in her favor.
Fire Arrows can rival mace toss zoning damage, but due to Green Arrow having to load trait, he many times opens himself up to eating additional chip or even full combo damage thus causing a life disparity to increase. He doesn't stop flight, he just makes her play a more competent and strategic air footsie game and getting in with MB mace toss and mace charge alongside your other mobility options isn't particularly daunting.
Green Arrow can use ice arrow on knockdown to blow up wake ups for full combo, but this means you can simply get up and block correctly if you see him in position to do this. Hawkgirl's mace charge can stuff wake up savage blast and other wake ups on knockdown into 21% damage if MB'd, which rivals Green Arrow's combo damage and damage off of making a read on an ice arrow that is more situational in oki than MB mace charge and this is also a reality when they open each other up outside of oki.
Green Arrow has good mobility as well with dashes so he can get around zoning as well and while his jump normals are decent, they get blown up hard by Hawkgirl's really strong down 2 air control.
The up close game is relatively equal as both have generally average speed normals with comparable range save for Hawkgirl's superior down 1 and down 2. Damage wise they generally do roughly similar damage. Hawkgirl can use wing evade and her strong down 1 to deal with down 1, arrow pressure thus making the down 1 meta game trickier for both parties.
Green Arrow often wins clashes due to the fact that he is not meter reliant; however, since Green Arrow in general does low damage, clashing isn't commonly notable deal.
Hawkgirl also does the hit and run game better than Green Arrow due to superior chip on her zoning, mace charge and more sustainable pressure with wing evade.