I been waiting on Hugo forever. Since I seen him in skyscraper under construction, I been hoping Capcom put him in the game. Now that he’s here, I have no idea on how to play with him. I feel completely random with every button I push. I don’t like being random. I like to have a plan of attack. I’m new to grapplers so I’m thinking maybe I need to focus on that. Any help from the grappler community would go a long way to helping me get better with him. Thanx in advance.
Churn dat butter
So with Hugo you have pretty much two modes: Poke and Mixup.
In the neutral game, nearly all of Hugo’s buttons make decent footsie tools.
Your standing and crouching lights are pretty much all great.
Notably, c.LP is your fastest at 5f, c.LK is a low, and s.LK is long-range but 8f. Lights are great counterpoke tools because they combo into Clap on Counterhit.
s.MP is gonna be one of your best pokes, at 9f startup and massive range.
s.HP has a hit of armor and will be your go-to meterless antiair and counterpoke, and hits overhead.
When I said Hugo has great buttons, though, I did say nearly all. s.HK/c.HK and c.HP have very niche uses, if any. Generally stay away from those buttons.
Which button you use when poking depends on mainly range and what your opponent is doing.
If they’re dancing around the midrange, go with s.MP or c.MK.
If they’re a bit closer throwing mediums buffered into stuff, go c.MP or a light of some sort buffered into Clap.
If they’re spacing you with long-range heavies, go with c.MP to punish whiffs or s.HP to counterpoke.
Once you back them into a corner, s.HP is really gonna shine, as it cuts them off if they try to jump out.
If they’re up in your face and pressuring you, your best bet is to either churn butter for a reversal SPD or just try and block it until there’s a gap and you can make some space again.
If they’re straight up running away, you can just start whiffing LK Lariat to build insane meter.
If they’re zoning with fireballs, either use dd+MK to get over them (which can be hard, depending on the fireball speed), or focus dash through them. If you decide to jump over them, make sure it’s from a safe distance and probably don’t press any buttons, because Hugo’s hitbox becomes enormous the second you press a button in the air. Get close enough to hopefully trade against their fireball with s.MP, since that trade’s in your favor.
After most hard knockdowns, Hugo gets a fantastic mixup/pressure tool at his disposal: Clap Oki.
Essentially, the idea is that you put them in a situation on their wakeup where you can either do HP Clap to hit them meaty, or MP Clap which will whiff and can set up either Ultra Throw or Moonsault Press or let you bait and block a reversal. In the event of an HP Clap, you can also Option Select it so that if they backdash the Clap, you grab them with a EX Backbreaker (on some characters you can do LK, too), or U2. If they DWU, you can Ultra Throw after a whiffed HP Clap and they won’t be able to jab you out of it, though they will be able to backdash.
Basic setups to get in the Clap Oki position is as follows:
c.MK -> Dash -> Clap
LK Lariat -> c.MK / HP Clap and slight Delay -> Clap
Backbreaker -> dd+MK / s.MP -> Clap
SPD -> Slight Delay -> Clap
These setups are also nice in that most of the time you can substitute a Clap with a dd+MK to catch them not blocking high, and it’ll be spaced and meaty enough to pretty easily hitconfirm into a Light xx Lariat.
Hugo also has a nice thing with Kara Ultra Throw, where you input HCB+P~K. You essentially input a Clap, since HCB+P contains QCB+P, the actual clap motion, and then immediately plink Kick to cancel the Clap into Ultra Throw, because in SF4 you can cancel a special into something else of higher priority within the first frame or so.
So by doing Kara Ultra Throw, you can gain massive range on one of your most powerful command throws – EX Kara UT can even reach after the pushback from 4 jabs!
So on top of standard Grappler fare, like tick throw setups and ways to hide 360 buffering, that’s most of the information you’ll need to get Hugo’s main gameplan down.
Hmm… that seems like a lot of effort. What button should I specifically mash to win?
Umm churning is not a good strategy unless you suck I’m sorry.
Use it if it works. If they punish you for it consistently, then you have to switch it up.