Firstly, sorry for any repeated info here, just trying to give some insight for you guys into the matchup by contributing what i can or what some of you guys might not know.
there shouldn’t be anything wrong here but feel free to correct me if you spot something incorrect
Playing both characters has taught me the matchup well. This is very wordy but should provide some good knowledge on the matchup. Hopefully you learn something! :tup:
‘bk’ = burn kick
’tk’ = thunder knuckle
Viper isn’t like other SF char’s and her normals aren’t very good, making her a very special move based character (whiff punishing with ex seismo for example) meaning the footsie game will be slightly different to other matchups.
Like many of Viper’s matchups, she will be looking to play keepaway here because she’s a better turtle than you.
If she gets a knockdown and is able to get some meaty pressure, she will take it and run with it until the situation is reset and she will go back to zoning.
So as sakura you are going to have to play footsies until you can score a knockdown and then rush down relelntlessly.
She has poor health/stun like you so after knockdown you only need to guess right a couple of times to bag yourself the round.
at closer mid ranged distances watch out for cr.mk xx thunder knuckle feint > super jump cancel burnkick
as well as just cr.mk/cr.mp > super jump cancel burnkick as they can be hard to block if you’re not expecting them.
this should usually cross you up because sakura has a small hitbox but after you’ve played a few games with a viper i’m sure you will learn the spacing.
Vipers will start off their defense/teching game with burn kicks to see how you react or will stand tech, because if she lands the backthrow it sets up a fantastic okizeme or ambiguous jump in. the viper will typically crouch tech if they have the life lead or are just playing safe and not risking having their stand tech/burn kick getting baited out (see conditioning) ***Footsie game** - viper can use MP and LP thunder knuckles as mid-ranged pokes raw as well as off of a cr.mk poke (buffered) she'll use this to get in or keep you from pushing her to the corner so dont walk forward too freely - cr.mk and cr.hp at their tips can also be cancelled into the medium seismo for the viper to get their pressure started, so if you see them doing it often you can jump forward inbetween the normal and seismo to punish. - sweep is her only other normal poke to look out for really in this matchup but will rarely be used unless you are spamming on cr.mk because your st.hk should beat it nicely - if full screen, viper will throw out hp.seismo if they think you're going to fireball, if you can make a read on one, jumping tatsu across the screen, land and punish with cr.mk > hp.SRK or better if you are close enough. keep in mind the risk you take if you make a bad read here. *Or you can ex otoshi on reaction to a whiffed seismo. ^ mixing up your jumps with tatsu is especially useful in this matchup because of the long seismo recovery - st.hk is useful here but dont get too happy hitting it because she can go under it with a lp.thunder knuckle or whiff punish with EX seismo. - your cr.mk will stuff all of her normals except for sweep where it will trade in her favour. - her elbow (f.MP overhead) is decent in the footsie game so watch out for it at close range or after any thunder knuckle feint. if they are getting too elbow happy and you can read them, you can level 2 focus crumple it because it has a bit of recovery time to it > bnb. - any blocked seismo xx EX seismo cant be jumped out of unless viper times it late (no reason to) - throwing out a midscreen fireball will be beaten by a guessed sjc burn kick over it, so find the spacing and bait this with your normal fireball bait (i use very quick crouch ~ st.lk) and neutral jump to land a juicy combo - although blocking is key in this matchup, dont be afraid to cr.hp her out of a blocked seismo > sjc burn kick from time to time (cr.mk can also get your hitbox slightly lower but it doesn't help anywhere near as much as other shotos) ***Wakeup game and Option Selects** viper's relatively free on wakeup. safe jumps are really leniant (7f reversal) - if you notice the viper likes to do wakeup EX seismo when you start walking towards them after a bnb ending in hp.shouken, a late jump in on their wakeup (if you have 1 EX bar) should win you the round if you guess right on the reset after the ex otoshi. - only OS lk.tastu from a jump in to beat wakeup EX seismo - EX shouken should be your OS of choice if you're going to use one, jumping in with a delayed (by 1-6f) jump in heavy punch will stuff all burn kick attempts and beat EX seismo clean, and lose to EX seismo feint(hp.tk feint won't work in this situation so if they have no meter you're good to go). keep in mind simply doing no OS can punish an ex BK! * > the reason the jump is slightly delayed is because if you time it perfectly, wakeup lk.burn kick can hop over you, but its unlikely the viper will do wakeup lk.bk to your jump in... - (Mentioned by The Lone Dragon before) meaty cr.lp OS ultra1 beats ex seismo, lk, mk and hk burnkicks, u1 auto corrects for ex bk if you delayed the :3k: correctly, cr.lp loses to hp.tk, and ex seismo feint and hp.tk feint(a rare sight) on wakeup will cause your ultra to come out and get blocked - meaty tatsu on her wakeup's quite poor, only do it if you can make a read on ex seismo/crouch tech. so if you cant get a safe jump do meaty cr.lk OS cr.hp (counterhits ex seismo, ex bk, regular bk, backdash whiffs, loses to hp.tk) ***Conditioning the burn kicks and shutting her down** - Bait stand tech's after you have confirmed your opponent is blocking with cr.lp or somewhere you're at nice frame advantage and take a step back and hit cr.mk (you don't have to hit-confirm off of the cr.mk) by this time if you saw their grab whiff animation, cancel into hp.SRK. if you didn't see it, cancel into mk/hk tatsu to keep pressure. In this matchup, i see sakuras go for tick throws at the first chance of pressure after a block string, this is a definite no-no because the viper is either bad and mashing lk.burning kicks all day or will be testing your response to them. they have no reason to eat a throw until they have been conditioned or shown that you are aware of their reversal bk's. use the string cr.lp > 1-2f delay walk forward > st.hp > lk.tatsu after your jump in's > if they mash bk, you will get counterhit st.hp and cancel into the tatsu leaving you at slight frame advantage for further pressure. > st.hp's a decent frame trap to catch teching also > timed ex seismo will beat the st.hp clean, but this is no real threat. if they have bar and you believe they will ex seismo it, swap up the string to cr.lp ~ LK.tatsu, it'll counter hit mashed burn kick and ex seismo. *she can backdash and punish or throw you here so only do this if you can read the ex seismo of a smart player. once you have conditioned them to not mash burnkick the viper will usually go back to regular teching or if they are still reversal happy, a hp.tk (heavily punishable) and you can begin to mix them up properly. that's all the stuff i can think of for now. this should help you alot in the matchup if you didn't know it. feel free to contribute/give feedback if you want.