okay… in a nutshell, i really hate this match. that’s pretty much the reason i started this thread. this is pretty much my impression of the match at the moment. hopefully someone can point out a really obvious tactic i’ve managed to overlook.
in my experience fighting Sagat isn’t so bad from afar as it is up close, because up close is when he has 6 billion ways to link into Ultra. fighting from afar, however, means fighting the fireball war, which Sagat is easily better equipped for. some notes:
- Sagat simply throws fireballs out at a greater rate, so Ryu will have to jump eventually. it’s inevitable, but it’s not a loss. Ryu should be jumping straight up, or forward then immediately back, just to reset the pace.
- some players just instinctively jump when they see Sagat crouch and yell “Tiger!” - only to realize it was a slow tiger shot and fall right into it. short air hurricane kick was great in previous games for dodging these but it doesn’t change Ryu’s jump trajectory very much, so Ryu can’t rely on it.
- haven’t tested thoroughly but short hurricane kick goes through low tiger shots; not sure if it’s just the startup or the whole thing.
point is Ryu can dodge projectiles reasonably well from full screen away, at least much more easily than Sagat can. Sagat’s jump is low, his dash is short, and he doesn’t walk all that fast; for the most part he has to jump over fireballs. to get close to Ryu with f+HK xx tiger knee, the screen has to be clear of projectiles.
the game seems to be one of building a solid lead over Sagat and staying the fuck away from him and that damned Ultra. he will pelt Ryu with tiger shots, to which Ryu must respond with fireball / block / jump / FADC in various combinations. Ryu can block, but imho he should be dodging these high/low slow/fast tiger shots by keeping his eyes peeled; first to preserve Ryu’s lead, and second to show Sagat you’re not gonna just sit and take block damage, which should persuade him to come and get you.
"is he gonna jump or fireball?" guessing game - obviously it’s about jumping him when he throws a fireball, and faking fireballs to DP his jump. it’s also about hitting whiffed limbs. this sub-game is old as SF2, but EX fireballs, FADC and Ryu’s awesome c.MK create subtle little differences (and unlike ST/HF, SF4 Ryu can’t cancel c.HK).
Ryu NEEDS to be able to WALK UP c.MK xx hadoken without a hitch in this match. this can be a challenge for people who haven’t practiced it because walk up c.MK xx hadoken can easily result in walk up c.MK xx shoryuken. the trick is to hold the down position a little before attempting the qcf motion; thankfully c.MK is much more lenient in this game (seems to have more cancellable frames). Sagat’s anti-air game is very strong, so this is one of Ryu’s few ways in. Ryu also needs to be able to DP every jump, but that goes without saying.
Sagat will occassionally FA from far in anticipation of your jump (or just to bait a reaction), but Ryu can hit with the tip of c.MK without risk (into hadoken to break armor). hurricane kick breaks armor, but forget about it.
Sagat can jump over the hadoken if Ryu tries c.MK xx hadoken from max c.MK range; if you see Sagat likes to do this, hit c.MK and don’t fireball, then uppercut when he jumps.
i noticed that if Sagat tries to jump over a fireball late from 3/4 screen away, and Ryu walks up to try to c.MK him when he lands, Sagat’s j.HK doesn’t seem to reach Ryu - actually the j.HK seems to remove Sagat’s trip guard, causing him to eat the c.MK xx hadoken.
i find jumping straight up can mess with a Sagat player’s head, simply because it’s harder to tell what comes next (in comparison to a Ryu that sits down and whiffs jab all the time). Ryu’s vertical jumping roundhouse is great air-to-air against Sagat too.
again i’d say it’s all about building a lead over Sagat, then playing it safe - i don’t mean getting a 20% lead midscreen then suddenly running away, but Ryu shouldn’t be taking any unnecessary risks. but that means not giving anything away either - a lead isn’t a reason to suddenly block or FADC Sagat’s jump ins when you DPed his jumps 3/3 times before.
it’s 1:14 am… i’ll go through the in-close game tomorrow.
this feels so generic even after my first read over it. i’m gonna have to start digging into frame data tomorrow.