One Year W/ Rufus

After playing Rufus for a year, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s actually not what many make him out to be.

He’s often associated with the term “rush down”, which I’m not sure is very accurate. The advice I’ve been given by a lot of people is to “be more patient” with a lot of his match-ups. Boy is that getting fucking old. Not that the advice isn’t correct, it’s that I’m disappointed to find out what it takes to be very good with this character. I think I made a miseducated decision.

To expand…

With Rufus it seems like half of my match ups are chasing someone down only to get one opportunity to kill, and the other half are me blocking forever because some characters are allowed to just go nuts with normals on him. I didn’t realize I was signing up for one of most bland characters in the game.

People often throw out the term “dive kick pressure” as one of Rufus’ assets. But the truth is, the dive kick can put Rufus in a mix-up just as easily as his opponent. I see Justin and Ricky lose SO MANY matches because of their attempts to apply dive kick pressure on their opponents’ wake-ups. They’ll dive kick and get blocked, and then eat crouching normals into big damage, or DP FADC Ultra…etc. How is this a tool if it makes Rufus guess? Trying to kill with Rufus’ “greatest weapon” cost them quite a few rounds.

I’ve dropped 800PP in the last few days on sheer boredom, and I’m contemplating just leaving the game entirely because it’s so discouraging and frustrating. Playing on PSN sure doesn’t help either. You get your one chance to kill and you cant even hit confirm or even worse–just a big old bucket of lag in your one frame link. I’ve put all this time into a character only to find out he’s basically someone I would never play in the first place.

For those looking to pick him up: not sure if I would ever call Rufus a rush down character. You can’t just go crazy with him as is often advertised.

Some of what you say is definitely true. I find Rufus to be one of the most match-up dependent characters in the game. Some match-ups you can get in easily and go ham, others require a lot more patience (sitting and blocking). This is especially true of characters with dp’s and with all the anti-dive kick option selects that have been discovered over the years. I think he’s a lot easier to play offline than online, which is why you see a ton of Rufus’s in tournaments but online he’s few and far between.

I think what makes Rufus really powerful is being able to read your opponent. Knowing when to dive kick, when to tick throw, when to frame trap, to block, etc. And also to capitalize on any opportunity to land his U1. Against good players sometimes you only get a few openings a round so you have to make them count.

But I can see where you’re coming from. People are kidding themselves if they think Rufus is an easy-to-use rush down character. With all the defensive options in SF4 you have to be able to read your opponent and capitalize on mistakes to really excel with this character.

I can totally understand your frustration man. For me Rufus, is in fact a “passive” aggressive type gameplay, with a strong need to be good at footsie (especially his sweep). You don’t attack directly and deal damage, you create yourself big holes, either via his throw (or dive kick), or press hard with dive kick.

He’s the character with the worst normals in game IMO. His philosophy is not really to press you till there’s no tomorrow like Sakura with crazy normal or combo for example, but rather to gain the upper hand either in punishing mistakes, and create fear with his throw (thus making people tech throw for no reason).

The biggest lie lies probably in his dive kick, which people abuse mentally, because it’s his only good move. But it’s a double edge sword. Since a Ryu with 3 bars and a full ultra is given the opportunity to punish you hard if you enter for no reason.

The first thing to truly learn is rather, how to dive kick smartly, at the right height to always gain the upper hand, condition your opponent not to anti-air for no reason, and make him pay for every small mistake he’s doing. SF4 is not the type of game which favors the aggression like KOF 13 (risk reward ratio) and playing “lame” is often a better strategy. I suggest people picking Rufus to learn how to play Guile / Sagat and defensive game. You can’t really win on dive kick and ultra 1 alone. My biggest improvement playing him was to understand that you need to cover you fundamental in a solid way before investing yourself to this character.

Couldn’t agree more. Since I first started this thread, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to adjust my initial thoughts around Rufus. I’m not trying to constantly impose my will with him anymore. I’m walking more, jumping less, and not panicking when I fall behind in a match. I think Rufus is the kind of character that has to take the smallest opening he’s given, and blow it wide open. If he misses that chance, he can’t force his way in–he has to wait for another.

Yes, that is correct.

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions I will also try to lay down after “main-ing” him since SF4.

1 - his dive kick should be considered as a footsie tool, rather than an abusable “move”. The dive kick has in fact very limited use. You dive in on your opponent’s head height ? There’s a strong possibility you will eat a reversal because you’re at best at +1F until you land, or even, worse 0. And the wrong news is : you can do nothing about it because most of your move are at 4F best, except a messiah, which makes you invincible. You dive in while your opponent has 3 bar, 1 ultra and has been waiting for you for like 1 min and doing nothing ? You’ve probably just given him the perfect opportunity to put his combo. You dive in because you think your opponent will just block and wait till you finish your pressure ? Unless he has 0 experience with the game, most people can just jump back and counter it (or option select throw / anti-air). In short, dive kick is fast, can be used to trick people rather than being a 3F jab which can be spammed.

Every time I see someone dive kick for example Infiltration, the guy’s super smart : he just spam 3F jabs. Congratulations, you just got yourself under your opponent mix up game while thinking you were owning him with your game !

Just watch for example this match and try to see how to “lose” when you think you were winning.

This one with Momochi, is particularly revealing too :

2 - most of players don’t play the character’s forte enough I feel. His throw is the most damaging one in the game, and there’s a sense to this (until it’s nerfed in USF4). People just dive kick him, put a few blocked moves, push the opponent out with 0 real pressure and try to redo again. That’s not the point. The point is to make your opponent feel he needs to tech throw you, DP you, block you and escape in order to counter you. In short, you’re making the guy confused about his options. Which one is the correct one ? Be careful cause you have only 1 correct answer based on the situation, and oh, Rufus has 1 ultra, and 3 bars, damn… I eat one normal combo, and there’s like 20 % of my life gone ! That’s one of the best thing you can do : create expectations, based habits, bad reading, and exploit them since Rufus is a fast and explosive character with a great come-back factor (ultra 1).

3 - The hardest thing perhaps, for new Rufus’s user to understand, is the key to “opening”. Opening isn’t only meant to go in and ram jam in order to prove you can win in a “fair way”, or jump in and dive kick in obvious way but rather, to know “when” or “how” to make one opponent lower his defense. Sometimes, being a the right distance, like at a Rufus’ sweep distance, is enough to make a guy impatient. “Why is he not attacking ? Why is he not coming at me ?” You created some safe and fake whiffed move, to force him to react or punish. And you punish his footsies in return, either via sweep or dive kick, which are made for it. SF4 is just not Guilty Gear or KOF… You just cannot “jump” to make your wishes come true. Most of the time, you bluff and call your opponent and allow him to create one for you.

4 - Messiah kick is also probably the move which make beginners players misunderstand Rufus. This move alone makes people play lazy. Just because you can “almost” escape every situation with it doesn’t take you the right to remain solid at defense. And by defense, I mean “how should I react when I’m pressured”, because let’s face the facts : you have nothing, except blocking / tech throw / jump. No natural DP or 3F moves. Which is also why a lot of players lose. Rufus is stunned easily, has a weird hurtbox, and cross up are real nightmares to block. Dhalsim players will understand what I’m talking about. Owning like 80 % of a match with your zoning and reading skills, then on 1 knockdown, one “misread” situation, and there you go, you’re stunned… And oh, “dead” because your character has barely enough life to give you another opportunity to finish what you started. That’s what make most of this character’s user improve greatly their tech or pressure because that’s what they have to deal 90 % of the time. I think that before you play Rufus, it’s better to be really good already on your natural reading and defense reflex and options, even if that means to play a secondary character for it, to make the character truly viable, or your matches are just random win / loss.