Sakura Beginner Guide, New to Sakura? Come Here! Now updated with Notes, Tips, and Video Tutorial!

sakura

#1

The Sakura forums had information scattered throughout many threads and posts. Since the new Ultra update coming out, the Sakura forums have seen an influx of new players. Many new players have been asking repeated questions in the Q/A thread so we have decided to create a beginner guide which covers: notable normals, usages of U1/U2, combos, safe jumps, blockstrings, etc. The guide is a collaboration between all the main Sakura players on this forum with information taken from old posts and put together and formatted in a easy and concise manner. The guide was originally worked on through a google drive doc which can be found at the link below. Shout outs to FearTheFuhajin for coming up with the idea and starting the guide.

Spoiler

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eeIc5GM3waM3fYhz2UefmD9gznynb56yeMFD16MYLhQ/pub

Even though this guide will offer a wealth of information, it does not cover an in-depth analysis of Sakura’s play style and how to apply it. Destin has posted a great guide which covers this and even though the guide is out-dated, many of the information holds true today. This guide is highly recommended to read to speed up the process of learning Sakura if you are new to playing her. The link can be found below.

Spoiler

Destin's Sakura Advanced Play Guide

Alex Myers has recently started a Sakura video series that covers many aspects of Sakura’s playstyle and applications of moves. This is a great watch and the videos are made post-Ultra so all the information is current. The videos have been linked below, and not embedded, for respect to the Cross Counter TV channel.

Spoiler

Sakura Tutorial with Alex Myers
Alex Myers (@alexmyerssf4) Sakura Pressure Tutorial - 9/9/2014 - USF4 Tutorial

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/yq0XsAd8MHxWwj9JbsfS4RI_HNW0X8cvPiv-u1IYH_kNygtNuhjhWLXA06kzc2R7Y-RG3O_4luREt1vypas_PKjnONU-UKRwQsINZZpT4DZEVjKh58IXsILiGOI

If you have thought about giving Sakura a shot, now is as good of a time as ever! Even though she received some slight nerfs in Utra Street Fighter IV, her overall game plan has not changed and this young schoolgirl still hits like a truck with high damage combos with or without meter. With the additional balance changes and system mechanics added to Ultra, her matchups have become even easier!

Overview
Sakura is an offensive, frame trap, high damage and stun output machine. She has great knockdown pressure, some solid resets and gimmicks that go along with her insanely effective offense. Despite her great mobility and good pokes like cr. MK and st. HK, she can struggle against lame play and turtling. Her overall game plan revolves around wanting to get in and stay in. Successfully landing 1-2 combos after a mixup can lead to a fully stunned character or even possibly death!

Pros:

  • Great walk speed and good dashes make her a very mobile character
  • Very good normal moves
  • High damage and high stun output in combos, both with and without meter
  • Good mix-up game
  • Good up-close pressure game

Cons:

  • A strong weakness to charge characters and armored attacks, such as E. Honda and Balrog.
  • Reversal options are not as strong as most other characters.
  • Certain characters with a strong zoning game can make her work really hard to get in.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notable normals:

  • Far standing heavy kick; far-reaching normal that’s mostly used to keep people out. It’s also great for counter poking.
  • Crouching medium kick; great footsies tool that can be hit-confirmed into a dragon punch.
  • Standing & crouching light punch; strong pressure tool that can be used for frame traps.
  • Far standing medium punch- Situational, but it’s a decent counter poke.

Sakura’s main anti airs are:

  • Crouching heavy punch; will be your primary anti air to stop jump ins on most occasions.
  • Standing heavy punch; more situational, but it’s fantastic for putting cross-up attempts on blast.
  • Jumping medium punch; Sakura’s main air-to-air move.
  • Light and medium dragon punches; useful for the classic fireball into anti air game.

Other notable normal moves:

  • Forward medium kick; her overhead, slow start-up so use sparingly
  • Forward jump heavy punch; Great hitbox, can stuff certain anti air attempts (if timed early) even after the nerfs
  • Forward jump medium kick; primary cross-up.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ultra combo choices
When choosing your ultra, it can oftentimes come down to personal preference and you may want to play around with both and find your own personal utility for both in a given matchup. However, here are some basic yet significant differences between both of her ultras.

Ultra 1: (451 damage)

  • High Damage / Comeback potential
  • Only combo-able after EX tatsu.
  • Occasionally useful for option selects. (I.E. Cody’s EX zonk and Dhalsim teleports)
  • Hits low.
  • It can beat Honda’s headbutt, Adon’s jaguar kicks and jaguar tooths, beat Balrog’s dash punches and catch some of Makoto’s tsurugis if you are able to do it on reaction.
  • Not as versatile as U2.

Ultra 2: (320 damage)

  • Not as much damage as U1.
  • High combo versatility
  • Combo-able after:
    …EX tatsu
    …Kicks version (KKK) after DP in the corner
    …Air tatsu juggle in the corner
  • KKK version can used as an Anti-Air.
  • Usable in certain corner set-ups (some no longer work in Ultra Street Fighter IV due to delayed wake up).
  • Nice priority
  • Can beat out certain tracking moves, like Akuma’s demon flip.
  • KKK version can no longer beat certain vortex/pressure options on wake-up, like Cammy’s Cannon Strike (this was buffed in Ultra since Cammy can do it lower to the ground and recover in time to block) and Akuma’s crossup tatsu (due to Ultra removing the behind-the-back hitbox)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Combos:

[details=Spoiler]>* - One Frame Link
(damage/stun)[/details]

Basic combos that every Sakura player should learn how to do. This is by no means a list of every combo she has at the basic level. In most cases with cr. HP, you can substitute it for a st. LK instead for a bit less damage but a much easier link. Note that st. LP does more damage than cr. LP and has better frame advantage, so opt for st. LP instead. You can start any of these combos with a jump in as well.

Meterless
cr. LK > st. LP > cr. MK xx HP Shouken (204/320)
cr. LK > st. LP > cr. HP xx HP Shouken (223/336)
cr. LK > st. LP > st. LP >* cr. HK (128/245)

One Bar
cr. LK > cr. LP > cr. HP xx EX Shunpukyaku/Tatsu > Otosi x2 (255/371)
st. HP xx LK Tatsu >* cr. HP xx EX Shunpukyaku/Tatsu > Otosi x2 (365/491)

Two Bars
cr. MK xx HP Shouken > FADC >* st. HP xx LK Tatsu >* cr. HP xx HP Shouken (418/548)

Three Bars
cr. MK xx EX Shouken > FADC > st. HP xx LK Tatsu >* cr. HP xx HP Shouken (428/558)
cr. HP xx HP Shouken > FADC >* st. HP xx LK Tatsu >* cr. HP xx EX Tatsu > Otosi x2 (421/537)

Four Bars
st. HP xx LK Tatsu > cr. HP xx EX Shouken > FADC > st. HP xx EX Tatsu > Otosi x2 (460/591)
st. HP xx LK Tatsu > cr. HP xx HP Souken xx Super (488/351)

Combo options in Ultra
Mid-Screen
EX Tatsu (with or without combo) > U2 (can slightly walk forward if spacing is bad)
EX Tatsu > Dash Forward > slight delay > U1

Corner
HP/EX Shouoken (with or without combo > U2 KKK
EX Tatsu (with or without combo) > U2 KKK (SHOULD slightly delay the input)
EX Tatsu > backdash/whiff st.mp > LP Shouoken > U2 (Better damage)
EX Tatsu > Dash Forward > slight delay > U1
Meaty charged hadoken > FADC > U1

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Block strings:
Sakura’s true block strings are fortunately very easy since they’re just chained lights ending in standing light kick (if spacing allows it). Normally Sakura can chain 3 lights together, however she can chain 4 lights together (recommend ending with st.lk) in the corner or against wider hitbox characters. It is generally recommended to end block strings used as hitconfirms with cr.lp which grants the ability to combo into cr.mk xx HP dp

Examples:
cr. LK x3, (st.LK)
cr. LK, cr. LP, cr. LP, (st. LK)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Frame Traps:
Her normals are great for frame trapping
cr.lp > cr.hp (1 frame gap)
cr.lp > cr.mp (2 frame gap)
cr.lk > cl.hp (3 frame gap)
st.lp > cr.hp (4 frame gap)
st.lp > st.lp > cl.hp (walking a bit between the st.lps)
cr.lp > walk > cr.lp > cr.mk xx hitconfirm DP
Jump-in attack xx lk tatsu (my personal favorite)
cr.lk xx lk tatsu (can be stuffed by jabs though)
Jump-in attack > delayed cl.hp
-Crouching light kick into crouching heavy punch is good, but it’s outclassed by crouching light kick into standing heavy punch in most cases since it’s one frame faster (3 frames vs. 4 frames)

  • Crouching light kick into light hurricane kick is also great because it leaves you closer on block, it gives Sakura lower body invincibility, and it’s safer on block against the majority of the cast.
    -Tip from TheBlackHombre: You can cr.lk, st. hp xx tatsu after an empty jump to blow people up but be warned that if you’re not close enough you may get far st.hp (which doesn’t combo) on certain characters. Balrog and Guile come to mind.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Safe Jumps
Due to Ultra adding the option of delayed wakeup (DWU) from a hard knockdown, safe jumps resulting from a hard knockdown are no longer safe (ie: throw, sweep, otoshi, ultra). It is advised to opt for a safe jump after a soft knockdown from a shouken which covers both options of quick rise and non-quick rise.

NOTE: Use j.HK for safe jumps against Cammy and Sagat otherwise it will whiff (they wake up a few frames slower than the rest of the cast).

No Timing Required

Spoiler

MP dp > uf > j.HP/HK, (if they late wakeup) > whiff st.LP, nj.HK

Timing Required

[details=Spoiler]HP dp > 1mm walk forward j.HP/HK, (if they late wakeup) > whiff st.LP, nj.HK
HP dp (corner) > whiff st.LP, nj.HP (hits infront, lands behind) / j.MK (crossup), (if they late wakeup) > whiff st.LP, nj.HP/MK again

Throw > small step back > j.MK/HP (safe jump; makes dp’s whiff)
Throw > whiff cr.MP > j.MK (alternative, makes shotos dp’s whiff except Akuma - he can walk away due to his fast walk speed)
Throw > st.LP > j.MK (5-frame safe jump)
Throw > st.LK > j.HP (fake crossup on Sagat/Cammy)

Sweep > slight step back > j.mk/HP[/details]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tatsu loops:

Spoiler

These are Sakura’s advanced combos which require either 1 or 2 frame links. Note: this combo list has been updated for Ultra! :slight_smile:

Character specific tatsu loops:
(The notations are shortened so cl.hp, cr.hp, cr.hp would look like this cl.hp xx tatsu, cr.hp xx tatsu, cr.hp into whatever.)

  • cl.hp, cr.hp = dan, e.ryu, ken, poison, ryu, sakura
  • cl.hp, cr.hp, cr.hp = abel, balrog, dee jay, dhalsim, dudley, el fuerte, hugo, juri
  • cl.hp, cr.hp, st.lk = e.honda, elena, guile, sagat, seth, t.hawk, vega, zangief
  • cl.mk, cl.hp, cr.hp = akuma, adon, cammy, chun, cody, c.viper, dee jay, fei long, gen, guy, gouken, hakan, m.bison, oni, rolento, rose, rufus, yang, yun
  • cl.mk, cl.mk, cr.hp, st.lk = ibuki, makoto
  • cl.mk, cr.hp, cr.hp = blanka
  • cl.mk, cl.hp, st.lk = decapre
Spoiler

-Tip from FearTheFuhajin: Personally, I recommend keeping the tatsu loop specifics on your phone or writing it down in a notebook to cut down on having to memorize every single character’s data.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes and Tips:
Sakura doesn’t have invincibility on her dragon punches, only her EX dragon punch has invincibility. In addition to that, they are slow as well; her EX dragon punch has 12 frame start-up. This means her reversal options are not as strong as other characters since it costs 3 meters to throw out a reversal on wake-up and make it safe. Since it’s so slow, the opponent can easily bait it with a neutral jump.

Sakura has the worst fireball in the game (not counting Dan). The recovery is very slow so you cannot play the typical shoto fireball - uppercut game in the mid-range (around the same space apart when the characters begin playing when the round starts). The dragon punch has a lot of horizontal movement so you can anti-air people further than this distance, however.

Sakura was very strong in AE2012 due to her ambiguous hard knock down setups. Due Ultra adding DWU, these setups are no longer safe, so it is advisable to end combos with dragon punch which lead into a soft knockdown, which then lead into a safe jump. Sakura still has ambiguous jump-ins from these safe jumps and is still considered a strong character due to how damaging her combos are and her ability to convert cr.MK into high damage and/or mixups.

Sakura’s normals do not have much range so she cannot control the neutral position like a typical shoto. Use far standing heavy kick to control space and counter poke in the neutral. Cr.MK hit-confirmed into hp dp is the bread and butter to Sakura’s neutral game as it leads into high damage (cr.MK xx hp dp xx FADC, st.HP* xx lk tatsu, cr.HP xx hp dp). (FADC > st.HP is a 1 frame link) This is a must learn skill for playing Sakura at a high level and is not easy to due. Another example of this being used is cr.MK xx LP dp > U2 (KKK) in the corner for a meterless combo into ultra. (LP dp is used for less damage scaling)

st.HP xx lk tatsu, cr.HP xx hp dp/ex tatsu is a universal combo that works on the entire cast (except Decapre which you must substitute cr.HP with st.LK - shout outs to the DLC characters funky hitboxes). This is the combo recommended to people wanting to work on their tatsu loop execution. Against wider hitbox characters, you can add another loop and end the combo with st.LK xx hp dp/ex tatsu (example: st.HP xx lk tatsu, cr.HP xx lk tatsu, st.LK xx hp dp/ex tatsu).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notable Sakura players: (ordered in video availability/tournament activity)
You can search these names to find great high level match videos.

  • Humanbomb
  • NYChrisG
  • Alex Myers
  • Dunhiller/Danhiru
  • Uryo
  • Juso

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/yqsLsEAhxQ7o-9idfFbDoecdPhZvuAMiZLofdF54_6yg6sXEFV_xg5Q-fZllF2ZFfzomaEEJ48Re0vsDSaETLDFMm_eoAY2TCyU5ufQUaeyL2015quX19_qrlQk


Creating a Sakura noob guide to help myself and other new players
Sakura Q&A: Ask simple questions here!
Red Pantie Addict Anonymous: Sakura General Discussion!
More or less the same on stick so far
Sakura Q&A: Ask simple questions here!
#2

This vid helped me get a little more out of my hits.


Thanks to shano


#3

Thanks for passing my vid on shweel :slight_smile: glad the vid helped you out i will probably be making a Part 2 soon btw for the 5 new characters and new combo possibilities that USF4 brings plus other new stuff i find.


#4

nice thanks 4 making this