I think most of us observe the HHT by doing it the easiest way (with the razor slightly angled away from the holding point of the hair, and the hair held by its tip end. The latter make quite a difference too.
With that said, a Coticule edge can (and in my opinion: should) pass the HHT before it is stropped. Stropping will provide a significant improvement, but I'm only happy with the shave if my edge already passed HHT-3 before stropping. The edge needs to be dry before testing. I use kitchen paper for that.