I am of the opinion that is a hindrance to a Vega player to consider his ultra as useless. I hit people with it all the time.
Good set ups:
Ultra after throw tech (great against hasty opponents)
Focus Dash Ultra Buffer (see explanation, this is the best way to hit with your ultra)
Empty forward dash ultra (see explanation)
Certain moves being blocked in the corner
poorly spaced jump ins in the corner
Punishing full screen back dashes / forward dash / anything
Focus Crumple (you must connect with a focus, back dash immediately, and being your charge as soon as you back dash. this can miss if you’re timing is not proper. requires practice)
Here’s a write up I made about the focus das ultra buffer a while ago. I think more people should read this as its Vega’s no 1 way of hitting with ultra, and sets up mixups with Vega’s focus. (either you dash out + ultra, let it go + safe back dash, or safe back dash. considering the reach on Vega’s focus and how far he goes when he backdashes this is really useful to integrate into your positioning game)
Notice how whenever you use a focus attack on someone with any directional input character (like the Shotos, Zangief, etc.) and crumple them you can immediately use an ultra? Why shouldn’t the charge characters be able to use thisas well? Well thanks to SFIV’s lenient input system there is a way.
Normally if a shoto uses a focus, crumples, and ultras, it doesn’t really matter when they do it, unless they actually do it. A method implemented in SFIV for fast ultras, for example, Fei Long’s, is that you can input an ultra AS you dash, and as your dash is completing, finish whatever ultra command you are putting in, and will come out AS SOON AS you are done dashing. The reason I used Fei Long’s as an example is because his ultra is used SOLELY as a follow up to his godlike Focus attack. If Fei Long couldn’t use this trick (buffering the ultra through the dash), then certain cases would occur thanks to the second state of the crumpled state, which is when a character is at his / her knees. If you hit a character at this point, they are considered airborne and are reset. This is to encourage precision with input, otherwise it’d be pretty stupid if you could use a focus, run around, then use Fei Long’s ultra for a massive punch combo like you can use Dhalsim’s Super to pick people up from the ground. Because Fei Long can’t use his ultra on an opponent if he has waited to long after a connected focus, this buffering technique was put into the game to guarantee that every time a Fei Long crumples someone, he can hit confirm an ultra through a dash.
The reason I explain this is because this knowledge is crucial to understanding how to perform the charge buffer, because as charge characters have completely different inputs from directional input characters, the method works slightly differently. Now I’ll explain how to do it with Vega.
While Fei Long can hit confirm his ultra after a focus attack, characters can also perform ultras out of a cancelled focus, regardless of whether it hits or not. This can be used as a sort of feint; say you used your focus to absorb a projectile and you’re playing a poke-happy Sagat. You’ve focused through his projectile and you know he’s going to poke you once you get in… You can buffer the ultra through your dash, using the method I used above, and considering all Ultra’s have invincibility on startup (save Ryu, Dhalsim and maybe others) you’ll beat their poke and they’ll eat massive damage. This method can be used for Vega, but obviously since his Ultra is so awkward compared to the standard “I stand here and do something” Ultra, you have to learn to set it up in different ways.
So the technique is this; begin a charge, and shortly thereafter, focus. Keep charging as you begin the focus wind up. The key is to be very precise with your inputs; you want to charge bottom-left / right and immediately dash, without pressing any other directions inbetween and without being too slow. The reason you need to charge before the focus is because this is how Charge characters perform the same technique as I described Fei Long as being able to do. While for Fei Long you buffer a simple double qcf, you need to buffer a charge with chargers. So now that you’ve charged and dash cancelled, you now need to perform the trickiest part, which is finishing the ultra during the dash. So you’ve already stored your down-back charge coming into your dash; so now what you have to do is finish the rest of the ultra motion, which is NOT including the down back, down, down forward part** you can begin the rest of the ultra motion starting at down right; so now all you need to do is pretty much input Fei Long’s chicken wing attack, as if you were on the opposite side. So DURING your dash, you need to input
During the dash, begin the ultra motion, and finish the motion just as your dash finishes. If performed correctly, you will jump to the wall IMMEDIATELY after your dash. What this looks like to an opponent is you just focussing through another fireball, which could be commonplace… so naturally, they’ll shoot another. Most opponents wouldn’t possibly think of the fact that you can ultra since you’ve lost your charge, as it appears to look, but thankfully that’s just something people don’t know yet.
So I did type alot but I think, since this is IMO an advanced technique, explaining how I came to understand it would help you guys to understand it too.
So here’s the input for the tl;dr forum-goers:
Charge :db: ( you don’t need to charge for the full time before you do your focus; you can continue charging during the windup)
:r::r: (you can dash at any point, as long as immediately before your dash you were still charging)
:df::d::db::l::ub: :3k: (this needs to be done in succession with your dash; the timing to be specific is for a forward dash, 20 frames, and back dash, 22 frames, so you need to do this in two thirds of a second)
Anyway yeah, long post, but this is a complicated technique.
As far as the empty forward dash ultra buffer is concerned, it is much harder than the focus version as it’s the same thing but without the timing crutch using a focus provides you. You need to charge, return to neutral and forward dash without A) pressing any other buttons and B) in a split second really, then during your dash you do the half circle from df to ub as you normally would. This is very hard but great to perform if someone is aware of the potential you have to use your ultra out of a focus. Once again great for positioning game as a lot of times people dash at the same time you do, but you can punish theirs and they can’t.
I’m trying to figure out if you can do the same technique as above but with a backdash. At this point in time I have yet to ever get it to work, and I really thought I had my input nailed sometimes. It might be impossible.