Option Selects in SF4 are very strong because they limit the options of opponents who like to spam reversals and mash on backdash. For those that don’t know what option selects are, option selects are basically a combination of attacks that limit several or all of your opponent’s defensive options.
Most of balrog’s option selects revolve around his meaty crouching jab (LP). Balrog’s cr. jab starts up really fast, has good range, is hit confirmable, recovers really fast, and most importantly it is cancellabe into jabs(LP) and shorts(LK).
Balrog’s easiest and most useful option select is meaty crouching jab, followed by crouching jab + roundhouse. This option select punishes backdashes. Here’s how it works:
If the opponent backdashes on wake-up, balrog’s meaty crouching jab will whiff but then a roundhouse will come out because you pressed jab+roundhouse. The roundhouse has priority over jab and will come out. If the opponent is blocking your meaty will jab will be blocked but then another jab will come out. Balrog’s crouching jab is +4 frames on block so so you can choose to continue the block string or go for a tick throw. You can also fake a throw and do cr. strong into jab rush punch. If the opponent was not blocking, balrog will connect with crouching jabs which can be hit confirmed into a linked jab into headbutt or into standing jab into sweep. In SF4 meaty normals on hit force the opponent into standing position so Rog is able to connect st. jabs after meaty crouching jabs on hit.
This option select is very good for opponents that like to mash on backdash on wake-up. Once you start punishing their backdash and forcing them to block, you can start doing meaty throws to mix them up. This option select is very effective vs character that don’t have good reversals such as Abel without meter, Rufus without meter, Sakura without meter, Rose without meter, etc.
Use this option select sparingly vs characters with good reversals such as DP’s and invincible command grabs(EX Tornado throw, EX SPD, EX occhio throw).
Option Select -vs- C.Viper
Meaty crouching jab, back+standing short+standing fierce. Here’s how it works:
-If viper wakes up with EX seismo, Rog’s crouching jab will whiff, but close fierce will come out and hit as counter hit which you can combo into standing jab into cr. RH (or ultra).
-If viper backdashes, crouching jab will whiff but far standing fierce will come out and punish the backdash.
-If viper wakes up with fierce thunder knuckle or EX burning kick, Balrog’s crouching jab will whiff but he will block standing (in order for rog to block these reversals, the crouching jab has to be a perfect meaty so that it can recover in time to block) Ideally the meaty cr. jab has to be timed to hit on its 2nd active frame.
-If viper wakes up with reversal ultra, cr. jab will whiff but recover in time to block during the ultra freeze.
-if Viper tries any other reversal or isnt blocking, you will get cr. jab on hit, st. short on hit, which can be hit confirmed into st. jab into sweep or ultra.
-if Viper is blocking, cr.jab will connect, and close st. short will whiff safely.
** Viper’s only punish for this option select is her super only if she activates with fierce punch **
How to apply option selects in certain matchups
When Abel has no meter. He has to guess on wake-up whether you will go for a meaty normal or a meaty throw. His tornado throw beats out rog’s throw but loses to rog’s meaty cr. jab. Doing meaty jabs vs meterless Abel will force him to block on his wake-up. Once you force Abel to block on wake-up, you can try going for meaty throws. If the Abel player has good reactions, he will tech the throw. If the Abel player feels like you will throw again, he may go for tornado throw. His tornado throw however loses to meaty jab as I stated earlier so if you’re making the Abel do tornado throws again your opening him up for meaties. Rog can also neutral jump fierce and land a full jump in combo. If he feels the Abel will wake-up with tornado throw. When you force abel to guess between a meaty, a neutral jump, and a normal throw, you’re creating a wheel of options of which you have the initiative and abel’s only chance of returning damage is 33%. When you put the Abel in that situation, he will start backdashing on wake-up to avoid both the meaty normal and the meaty throw. When you start forcing the abel to backdash, you can start hitting your cr. jab, cr.jab + roundhouse Option select to punish his backdash.
Now when Abel has meter it becomes a bit trickier but still in Balrog’s favor. meaty normals lose to EX Tornado throw, but EX tornado loses to normal throw. Remember though, normal tornado throw beats rog normal throw. That situation is a 50/50 on who wins. As the rog, once you establish that 50/50, the Abel will want to guess on which tornado throw to use. Rog has the advantage vs that choice for Abel because if rog neutral jumps it obviously beats both tornado throws and allows rog to land a full big damage combo that leads to another knockdown. Once the abel understands this, he will either choose to block and try to tech throws, or he will start backdashing again. Since Abel has meter, his chances of safely backdashing increase because if rog goes for a meaty throw, Abel can backdash safely and even tornado throw rog after he whiffed the throw. Rog has an answer for that also though. While going for meaty throw, if rog holds up/forward, he will jump immediately after recovering from his meaty throw attempt and land a full jump in combo if the Abel tried to backdash into Tornado throw. If abel tries to wake up with EX change of direction, rog’s meaty throw will throw it or his meaty jab will recover in time to block and punish it.
The wakeup games become a bit more complex also when Abel gets Super and ultra because His ultra beats meaty throws but cannot punish a meaty jab. Abel’s super loses to meaty throws (depending on which button he used to activate it).
These Option Selects, coupled with Balrog’s far standing jabs (which abel cannot duck and can be hit confirmed into sweeps) are what make this matchup 6-4 in Balrog’s favor.
I have a good understanding of the wheel of options in this matchup from playing HAV and Rico Suave’s Abel. Overall I feel it is in Rog’s favor.
I will update this thread with more applications of balrog’s option selects vs other characters. Next character: Zangief.