Things to know about Sakura:
-Great mix up potential, when she has meter.
-Cr HP AA everything Guy has.
-Great set of normals and most will link into Lk/EX tatsu
-Pressure game is ridiculous
-She needs to get in to be any real threat
-Low Stamina and Stun
-Run overhead tends to fly over her in blockstrings unless done at the proper space or immediately majority of the time.
Things to watch out for:
-EX TATSU! The key starter to her mix up. Learn how she can reset the player and she has many tools, st lp, jump in, and her sweep cause that lovely “vortex” she has.
-St Hk: This normal is trouble for Guy, not only does it have good reach, its hard for Guy to beat this out. Most cases you’ll trade, the only way to beat it is to have st mp/mk hit her before its active or after, Cr HK also works but that is a risk. However thanks to Lumin it’s best to focus through her st HK.
Sakura actually has a small hitbox when standing but a big hitbox when crouching. When she is crouching, even after 2 point blank cr lp/lks, st mp and st hp will be the close versions, this basically means bigger damage, but this also means after immediate runstop from TC you can grab her without the means to kara, but you can for efficiency, this also means all your standing normals will be the close versions as well. This is nice to know.
If Guy hits Sakura with a cross up MK, he cannot combo into Bushin Chain from two crouching light attacks. The standing LP of the Bushin Chain will whiff. Here are the two situations that every Guy player should know in this match up:
cross up MK, one crouching light attack, Bushin Chain (with optional EX Hozanto)
cross up MK, two crouching light attacks, st.MP xx Run > Slide (or EX Hozanto) [/details]
Be wary that TC is useless after two cr lp/lks if she is standing, her hit animations causes the Hp to whiff, also after a crossup whether she is standing or crouching. TC will miss point blank, you’ll have to tack on a cr lp/lk for TC to connect. Weird I know.
How to get in on Sakura:
Well… this is probably one of the hardest thing Guy will have to do in this match up, as both of you will have to get in to do any real damage. Your aerial approaches are completely shutdown by cr Hp, you’ll only best it out if she does it too early or too late. So taking to the air is not a valid option.
Footsies is your only way in and its a hassle. Her best pokes are st hk and cr mk. They reach the farthest and cr mk will be a money maker for if she lands it. St Hk as I stated is a difficult poke to get around, your options are very limited. All you have is st mp, for a move that will have any real chance in hitting her whiff or startup of that normal and able to cancel into, the range you have to be in for cr. mp is just not worth it, st mk, st hp, cr mk and cr hk can be used for pokes but they are generally in the same situation as st mp (minus cr hk).
Against cr mk, st mp gets blown up, cr mp will work but its a risk for a trade and being beat clean. Cr Mk at max range is useful, you’ll most likely get a KD, st mk will beat it clean at max distance. You have to be patient, though if she jumps in on you the only normal you cant beat of hers is HP, unless you do a cl st hp and its timed correctly or burn meter or manage to grab her with regular Kaiten Izuna before the move becomes active. Its a tough climb but patience is your only way to get in on Sak.
Well her Cr HP can blow up your mixups, so Bushin Flip Elbow is a large gamble in terms with mix ups, same with Run overhead even with it whiffing on her on many occasions. You’re going to have to mix it up like a fiend, and a lot of her normals are fast so its difficult to be on point with pressure since most of her normals are in the 3-5 frame range. Guy doesn’t have much in this match up, you’ll have to mix in throws, FADCs, LP/MP bushin flip to keep her guessing on what you’re going to do and mess up her timing for cr HP if she uses it. When you get her knocked down though there isn’t much to worry about. She can only use Ultra, EX DP or Backdash. You can OS her Backdash and EX DP with EX tatsu. So you can lock her down easily to just block but in most cases that is all she has to do to just get her off you. Its a tough spot for Guy so mixing it up and being unorthodox is the only way to pressure this schoolgirl.
What to do against Sakura pressure:
Well not only is her LK tatsu pressure a pain to get out of it, its chipping away at your life ever so slowly, LK tatsu leaves her even, the only options you have are backdash, EX tatsu and cr lk. If the person is playing Sakura you better understand they have execution, its down to whoever times there 3 frame normal or whatever first but since everything is a gamble its better to block and just take the chip but since she has ways to stay in on you to, youcan be in pressure forever. Unless she runs out of meter and doesn’t use a normal that makes lk tatsu a safe blockstring you’ll basically going to either sit through the pressure or take a gamble to keep her honest. But she can easily bait you to do something and punish you for it.
When she uses EX tatsu… not even is it safe on block it leads to her dangerous mix up game on hit. Blocking and reaction is key here. She can use a lot of her normals to set things up and you’ll have to watch her movements if you can extensively, it doesn’t take her long to stun you if she goes on and on with this pressure and her Tatsu leads to her Ultras for free.
Lumin’s Matchup Tips:
[details=Spoiler] I have the luck of being able to play Sabr3 quite often, and I’ve noted a few things in terms of how to swing the match in your favor:
First, as you noted, jumping in isn’t an option, but some of guy’s greatest mixups are based from jump ins, so you want to make the Sakura player feel afraid to use her cr. HP. One way to do this is to jump in at a good distance (starting distance works well) so that she has plenty of time to read your jump in. Elbow drop right in front of her, and cause her to whiff her cr. hp. You will recover faster than her, and you can then st. mp xxx EX Hozanto to put her in the corner, or combo into run slide (I wouldn’t recommend this however, as the neutral safe jump setup is tricky with her) or you can sweep for a knock down. Sabr3 has very good reactions, so many times his great reactions can be in my favor if I can fake him out. Once you get the Sakura player to feel uneasy about her anti airs, you can then go for empty jumps into cr. short, or go for actual jump ins with roundhouse, delayed elbow, or cross up.
For footsies, her cr. mp xxx dp is very bad for guy, as she gets a setup afterwords if she lands it. NEVER EVER EVER quick stand against Sakura if you can help it, this will eliminate her safe jump setups and her jump in mixups on you. Just like her cr. HP, you want her to be afraid to throw out cr. mk. As Blooddrunk mentioned before, you can stuff her cr. mk with st. mk, but this doesn’t get you anywhere other than frustrating her. I would recommend (and this will be MUCH easier in 2012) walking into her cr. mk range, or throwing out a low short into her cr. mk range, and then backing up slightly. This should bait her into using the move, upon which you can either sweep or try to lp bushin flip in. Also, if you are at her max range for cr. mk, you can try to lp bushin flip on reaction to her cr. mk. She will reset you out of the air, but her option selected dp will come out and whiff, giving you a free punish. Also, try to use forward+mp overhead to get her out of the mind set of being crouching; this may reduce the number of cr. mk’s she throws out during a round. For her st. rh, don’t try to stuff it, focus through or block it. If she’s throwing st. rh out alot this means she doesn’t trust her cr. mk anymore, and you are winning the metagame, remain patient.
For your anti airs, it is PARAMOUNT that you learn to tiger knee EX Izuna all of her jump ins. It is far too risky to try and cr. mp or stand roundhouse her jump in roundhouse or fierce, as the risk for you is too high and her reward is too great. Until you have bar to do this, I recommend anti-airing her with neutral jump heavy punch, roundhouse, or mp. Once you’ve EX Izuna’d her jump ins (Ninja “Guyden” as we call it here in phx =D ) she will be afraid to jump at you, which will make her become more ground game (cr. mk, st. rh) dependent. [/details]
Its not a cake walk against Sakura, she has many tools for rushing you down than you have for her and they are safer, and she can easily shut down Guy’s metagame with ease. The matchup is doable but only with good reads, patience, and knowing how to pressure her properly. If you have to play defensively then do so, Sakura can’t handle zoners/defensive characters very well.
Feel free to add any info since its rare to come across a good Sak these days we’ll need the info
For undocumented changes and discussion, please check out this thread in the Sakura forums: