To be honest, I share the same sentiment as Jimmy when it comes down to the Karas whining. Its really gotten so bad that if I was considering buying the game, and I came to read the TvC sub-forum to see whats going on in the community and I was bombarded by the over exaggerated bitching that everyones spurting out, I probably wouldnt have gotten the game, and I wouldnt be surprised if this small community has already lost several potential players due to the incessant bitching. So, lets take another approach, shall we. Lets break him down and figure out how to beat him.
What not to do:
DO NOT approach Karas like you would any other character. In many ways he is as different from the rest of the cast as the Giants. If youre playing a good Karas and you go after him guns-a-blazin, then youll soon find that he can out-prioritize you with ease, and that one mistake will equate to an infinite., which will mean you losing anywhere from half to all of your life (depending on your character), 2 bars to escape (putting you at zero), and Karas will be sitting on at least 3 bars. Now youre fighting an uphill battle for being stupid, because if you want to hurt him you have to open him up at least two times before hes out of bar to Megacrash your successful advances, if you can manage even one, and because you dont have any bar, all he needs to do is hit you one more time, and its over. (If youre using a character that he cant infinite, then you can approach this match-up somewhat more offensively, but that doesnt mean that this match is a freebie or anything.)
What to do:
DO play defensively. One of the saving graces in this match-up is that Karas doesnt have any really useful options for opening you up, and this game is equipped with several defensive mechanisms. His only overhead options are his jumping attacks, which are slow enough that theyre easy to react to consistently, and the third hit of his Rekkas, which is easy as all-get-out to defend against (block the second Rekka low, and the third high every time). Remember, every time you block a jump in attack, push-block it, because you dont want him to pull that jump cancel into grab BS. Grabs suck in general and are easily avoided, so this shouldnt be a problem. Karas cross-up jB is pretty easy to see coming because he needs to jump rather high and he needs to make a visible dash to the other end of your character, so, learn to recognize this and block as is appropriate, or just air-block. Karas unblockable is very slow, and an eyesore at that. You can easily punish it by jumping over it and getting a free combo; if he sends out an assist to hold you in block-stun, push-block and jump, and then punish him for trying stupid shenanigans. If he attempts to dash through you to cross you up, block in the other direction, obviously, and remember that you can punish his dash; hes only invincible for a very small period of time. Also, remember that theres very little that Karas can do to jump blocking, nothing really, so if youre afraid hes going to pull some confusing shenanigans on the floor, take to the skies. One thing to fear, however, is Assist shenanigans. If you dont know what Im talking about, watch the BS that Kubo whips out on Gian. The best way to fight this is to simply pay attention to where Karas is, not the fireball, and to block appropriately, or to stick to the skies and air-block when he attempts this sort of stuff. Also, Karas needs to either IAD or dash on the ground to make any use of this trick, both of which are leaving him temporarily vulnerable (One way to avoid Karas BS all together is to sit with your back to the corner. Then the match is Karas literally running into the wall until the clock runs out). Needless to say, if your defense suffices (IE: if your patient) then Karas doesnt have anything on you short of annoying pressure, and if you take a health lead at any point in the match, just low-block, cause youve won.
DO master your execution. When Karas fucks up, you want to be able to capitalize on that to the best of your abilities. If youre playing Chun and you nail Karas with an infinite at the beginning of the match and you drop it, and Karas responds with the ass-kicking of a lifetime, then it was your fault, not the games. Simply put, dont fuck up because Karas takes damage like crazy, and you want to exploit the hell out of this.
DO learn what punishes Karas block-strings. If you do nothing but block, then Karas will build enough bar to Megacrash anything you successfully respond with. Characters such as Rock can push-block most anything that Karas whips out and respond with a free super, and considering that supers supersede Megacrashing, this is a good thing. Find out what works for your character and hurt him. Also, dont count VCs out, some characters can follow these things up with so much damage its not even right.
DO Megacrash; this should be obvious. However, I wouldn’t suggest Megacrashing until you notice your opponent starting the infinite, setting you up for a corner combo, or setting you up for a reset, or anything that leads to big damage. What I basically mean by this is, if you’re using a character that can’t be “infinited”, or if your opponent lands a move like an anti-air 5B, I would suggest waiting to see what they’re going for, because if your character can’t be “infinited” and your not near the corner or in the position for a reset, or if your opponent starts their combos from an otherwise difficult means to lead to big damage, it might be better to wait and see. If the Karas player goes for a lower damage combo, whether by necessity or difficulty, then I’d say save your bar and take the hit. If he goes for the infinite, or you smell a reset a-comin’, Megacrash like it’s your job, maybe twice for good measure (I’m kidding of course).
Character specific strats: (It’s rather general, for now)
If youre using a zoning character, like Megaman or Saki, then your goal will be to establish a safe-distance, past half-screen, and to thwart his advances. A good turtle will piss off a good Karas quick, because every slip hurts twice as much, and Karas doesnt have any tools for getting in except for jumping, which hardly suffices. If you play a proper zoning game then you can put Karas in a situation where he works his ass off to get in, only to find that you can Megacrash any successful advances, and rinse and repeat (basically the inverse of his strategy).
If youre using a good run-away, particularly Ken and Batsu, then you can hang out in the skies until Karas is forced to do something outside of his safety zone, to which you can respond appropriately.
If youre using a character with an air-grab super, such as Ippatsuman or Daimao, and your execution is sufficient, then Karas should be forced to stick to the floor in fear of eating anywhere from 10K-16K of unMegacrashable damage, where hes a harmless little pussycat, an annoying pussycat, sure, but a harmless one nonetheless. (Barring Kubo-esque BS, but even then, sitting in a corner supersedes that stuff, so the theory still applies)
If youre using a character that just plain hurts your opponent, such as Polymar, Ippatsuman, Tekkaman, Alex, or any character with a mid-screen infinite, then make that shit count and remind Karas how much health he really has.
This is where character specific, situational responses will be placed. Tell me, for example, that push-blocking X grants your character a free Y, and I will add it to this section.
Supers: (EDIT: Not as useful as I would have hoped, I’ll elaborate later today)
All of the following characters can push-block and punish Karas’ 5B & 2B pokes with the cited supers (naturally, the supers must be performed within their range):
Daimao: QCF Super
Jun: Both of her level one supers
Ken: DP Super
Rock: QCB Super
Roll: 6 Super
Ryu: QCF Super
Joe: DP Super
(Just because I didn’t mention a character doesn’t mean they can’t punish these pokes via push-block super. Batsu and Chun might be able to, for example, I just couldn’t get it to work in training mode. Also, I tested every characters level 3 and I couldn’t get one to connect; once again, this could just be a failure on my part.)
Super Armor: (EDIT: Not as useful as I would have hoped, I’ll elaborate later today)
Utilizing super armor, some characters should (IE: I haven’t tested this to a great extent yet) be able to stop Karas’ pressure reliably. Let’s say you’re using Ippatsuman and you push-block Karas’ 2B and input Ippatsuman’s 6C (go to neutral first, though, or he’ll do a psycho crusher). The super armor of that move should suffice in breaking Karas’ pressure if he attempts to go for a follow-up 5C, as per usual. If so, then you can Baroque (which you would have from the 5C that your armor broke through), or call an Assist (or both), and follow up accordingly. This same principle should apply to Casshern’s RDP(421)+B/C. Beware, however, if the Karas player suspects that you’ll do this, he can counter super, so don’t be too predictable.
If you notice that your opponent has a tendency to, say, follow 2B up with 5C everytime, then you could push-block 2B and input a counter super to punish him. This can be risky, and it’s inherently limited (Only Saki, Doronjo and Karas have counter supers, and I don’t think that Souki’s counter special would suffice), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful.
If you push-block a jump in attempt, or if you see or predict one, then the Karas’ player has essentially granted you a free air-grab. In the case of normal air-grabs, such as Alex’s knee or Daimao’s superman, you might be out-prioritized (this is somewhat unlikely, especially if you’re air-grabs following a push-block), but if you’re using Daimao or Ippatsuman’s air-grab super than you’ll net the damage almost every time. This severely limits what Karas can do to open you up.
Variable counters are great in general, though some shine brighter than others. I happen to know that Ryu’s and Karas’ VC’s will punish both Karas’ 5B & 2B, as well as several other pokes, consistantly. Whereas Daimao’s VC, to look at the other end of the spectrum, is much slower and can’t really net guarunteed damage, but that not to say that Daimao’s VC is useless. Let’s say you call in Daimao’s VC after a 2B from Karas, and the other player unwittingly input 5C early, then you’ve just netted anywhere from one-third to two-thirds or your opponent’s health. Ultimately, if you’re using a VC that isn’t quick enough to guarantee damage, then that doesn’t mean don’t use it, it just means don’t be too predictable.
I’m not a Batsu player, nor do I fully understand the usefulness of his Tardy Counters, but, from what I understand, they work similarly to super-armor moves, only difference being that they can be used on normal block. Assuming so much, I can see these being just as potent, if not more so, then super-armor moves, and they should be applied similarly, with the same strengths and weaknesses.
Ken the Eagle seems to be able push-block Karas’ advances and teleport out. I’ve also found that Yatterman’s QCF Super could also be used as an escape tool.
(Anyways, I can only hope that people will contribute to this thread and elaborate on specific strategies and the like that work for them against Karas. Maybe, if this is taken seriously, we can have a solid guide for beating Karas and the bitching will subside to some extent.)