NOTE This primer assumes you are familar with the game’s mechanics and Sagat’s frame data. If you aren’t don’t worry. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see several links to guides explaining basic and advanced mechanics of the game as well as a link to not only Sagat’s frame data, but to every character’s in the game. NOTE
To all my fellow Sagat players, I know many of you (read, probably all of you honestly) have been feeling lost when making the transition from SFIV Sagat to SFxT Sagat. This is understandable. Though the animations and look of both these incarnations of the King are the same, they are different characters. What this mini guide will attempt to do is delve into those changes, how it affects Sagat’s gameplay, give a solid outline on how someone should approach playing him, and of course some tips, tricks and cool things Sagat can do. Know this before you start. Sagat is a strong character. He is fun, interesting and can play pretty much anyway you want him too. He takes intelligence and rewards hard work and diligence. The journey starts now.
SSFIV AE to SFxT - How has Sagat changed?
Since his debut as a playable character in Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition, Sagat has been a zoning character with a strong defensive game. Using his fast high and low Tiger Shots to control space and force his opponents to take reckless action to get near him, and then punishing them with his powerful Tiger Uppercut is the Muay Thai Emperors bread and butter. Only in CvS2 has he deviated from this path, where he was still a defensive powerhouse but relied more so on his strong poke/footsie game and less on tiger shots because projectiles weren’t as viable in that game. In Street Fighter IV he went back to his zoning roots and that didn’t change even through several versions of the game all the way up to SSFIV AE 2012. However in SFIV Vanilla he had the capacity to play rushdown as well thanks to normals giving him good frame traps as well as his Tiger Knee being completely re-worked as a pressure tool that did good damage. His mix-up game was augmented because he had an overhead for the first time ever. And thanks to the ability to kara cancel his command normals into specials his zoning game was unmatched due to the incredible screen control he had. This incarnation of Sagat was very powerful and he was consequently nerfed in the following version of SFIV. In AE he is now returned to being a purely zoning character. His kara game is still very strong, and he can still play a heavy frame trap game up close but his mid range game is significantly weaker compared to SFIV Vanilla Sagat.
So what about SFxT Sagat?
The Greatest Monarch
These are the changes made to Sagat in SFxT compared to his incarnation in AE.
- Tiger Knee is now + on block, giving him a solid answer at mid range
- All uppercuts have difference hitting frames. Lp is 4. Mp is 5. Hp is 6. Damage is 120,140 and 150 respectively. All are invincible up to the first hitting frame.
- Kara cancel game is still intact
- Low step kick and High step kick are faster which means Sagat’s kara specials will execute faster as well
- Tiger shots do more damage, and travel faster.
- Several of his hitboxes on his normals were buffed
- Frame data changes means he gained some frame traps.
- Tiger shots have 3 frames worse recovery and one frame slower execution. 2 frames on ex versions
- All Tiger knees execute one frame slower. 2 frames slower on ex versions
- Frame data changes means he lost some frame traps
- EX Tiger shots do 100
- EX Tiger Knee does 110
Looking at this we can see he gained alot more then he lost. Sagat players that loved his zoning will be disheartened by the changes to his tiger shot data but remember that the other chars recieved changes too. This is a new engine that just LOOKS similar. There are subtle changes that ALL sf chars are dealing with. Sagat is not in a vacuum nor are we only comparing Sagat to his past versions. The reality is we are really comparing Sagat to other SFxT chars, because that’s what truly matters. This comparison I made between both versions is really to just answer the question of why he feels so different. Well, the numbers don’t lie. He feels different because he IS different. He is no longer the “pure” zoning character. He can still zone but chucking chi all day isn’t what he is just about. He also benefits greatly from system mechanics.
- All his great pokes become dangerous because of the boost combo engine. Any poke can be buffered into that or his launcher. This also makes him great at whiff punishing.
- Zoning makes him a great battery and meter is very important in this game
- His AA game sets up well for tag combos
Sagat in SFxT imo takes the best of every version of Sagat and then modifies it slightly for the SFxT engine. His tiger shots hit fairly hard for a projectile and travel fast similar to his SF2 incarnations. Thanks to the combo engine all his great pokes like st.mk and st.lk are now dangerous. They can all lead to real damage thus making his footsies a real threat. This is reminiscent of CvS2 Sagat with his great stand short and low fierce. He still has Vanilla SFIV Sagat’s kara game letting him control more then 75% of the screen at pretty much anytime at long range. He also kept his overhead for mix-ups. His Tiger Knee data is even better then Vanilla, giving him a solid rushdown option. These are alot of advantages though so I think to check that Capcom left TK at low damage on the second hit. His Tiger Shots are also worse to mitigate the fact that he actually has a strong mid range game now. Probably the one thing that helps him the most is the roll mechanic on wake-up. This kills the vortex that the SFIV series was known for which means opponents now have to work a bit harder to take advantage of his large hitbox instead of doing a very safe OS pressuring mix-up that leads to another mix-up situation and/or ultra set-up. All in all Sagat comes out very strong. He is still Sagat just tweaked and no longer feels extremely limited when his opponent is in footsie range. You can’t just throw Tiger shots, you actually need to do more, but I don’t see the downside in thinking more if you are being rewarded for it.
St.lk - This move is now all kinds of boss. Crazy range. Hits on frame 5. +5 on hit. +3 on block. From up close its only +1 on block. The fact that it’s + on block makes it an amazing poke for pressure. Great whiff punish and great to buffer with into luancher or cross rush/boost combo. This normal is a big part of Gat’s offense.
Cl.lp - Cannot be ducked. +8 on hit and +4 on block. Hits on frame 6. Great for frame traps.
Cr.lk - Hits low. +5 on hit. +1 on block. Good for starting your pressure and your combos.
Cr.lp - Hits on frame 3. +5 on hit and +1 on block. Solid reliable 3 frame jab. Another component of Sagat’s close range offense.
Cr.mp - Hits on frame 5. +6 on hit and +2 on block. Good speed and hitbox for a low strong. Sagat’s main combo tool in juggles.
Cr.mk - Hits low. Hits on frame 7. When fully spaced this is good for cancelling into Tiger Shot for space or Tiger Knee for pressure.
St.mk - Amazing hitbox. Can beat shoto low forward and most low sweeps too. Great buffer into launcher.
St.hp - Can’t be ducked. Crazy hitbox and great pushback. Good alternative to just throwing a raw low Tiger shot. Safe on block too. Even more range then St.lk.
St.rh - Gets a mention because it can punish alot of the so called “safe” boost combos that end in fierce on block. Cammy is a good examples of an ender that looks safe but you can just Rh into boost combo for a nice punish.
J.lk - Sagat’s cross-up. If you want to go on offense you will need to get comfortable using this. Hit late for maximum frame advantage.
J.mp - Disjointed hitbox makes it a good jump in attack.
F+hk - High Step Kick - Hits on frame 10. Large hitbox. Floats opponents and can be done twice and then followed with a fierce TU for 360 damage. Kara cancellable.
F+lk - Low Step Kick - Hits on frame 13. Hits low. Decent alternative at mid range/footsies. Very safe on block as Sagat takes a large step backwards once he finishes. Good for regaining spacing. Causes stagger stun state on CH. This puts Sagat at +35. More then enough time for a full combo. This move is kara-cancellable.
F+hp - Heavy Tiger Elbow - Sagat’s overhead. Must be blocked high. Hits on frame 20 but the damage is 100 making it a solid move. Causes ground bounce on CH that Sagat can combo from.
HK,HK - Fake Kick - One of Sagat’s most important tools. Sagat’s fakes his hk and has very little recovery. Might not seem like much but this move is of utmost importance to high level Sagat play.
High Tiger shot - Hits on frame 12. EX hits on frame 13. Does 75 damage. Full recovery is 42 frames. Just good for mixing up your opponent at long range. EX version knocks down and does 100.
Low Tiger Shot - Hits on frame 13. EX hits on frame 14. Does 70 damage. EX does 100 and knocks down. Full recovery is 48. His main long range pressure tool and one of the pillars of his game.
Tiger Uppercut - Lp version does 120 damage (100 as AA), and hits on frame 4. Mp version does 140 damage(110 as AA) and hits on frame 5. Hp version does 150 damage(120 as AA) and hits on frame 6. EX version does 200 damage, 10 frames of invincibility but hits on frame 4 and has the range of the Hp version. This makes it the best version for punishing with lp and mp coming in second. Lp and EX are great for wake-up since they are hard to safe jump effectively thanks to their speed.
Tiger Knee - All versions hit on frame 8 except EX which hits on frame 9. LK version does 110 damage and can be +5 on block at most. MK version does 120 damage and can be +4 on block at the most. HK version does 140. Good for safe tag in as it’s two hits up close. Great for corner combo set-ups, starting safe offense and to create frame traps. EX version does 110 and wall bounces. Great for combos and blowing through armor attacks. Sagat’s combo extender. This is also his charge special that he can cancel with a dash.
Tiger Genocide - Hits on frame 3. Invincible for 5 frames. 310 damage. Very fast and a great punisher, combo ender as well as AA. Good for blowing up safe jump attempts too. Can be kara cancelled into.
Cross Art - A ton of range and 10 frames of invincibility. Can be kara cancelled into. Solid AA tool. Good combo ender after a high step kick if you want to end games or get rid of grey life on your opponent.
Now we know what Sagat can do. From here it’s a matter of putting it all together.
Sagat is still Sagat. Tiger Shots are still the main tool that he is built upon. Control the screen and your opponent with a mix of low shots and high shots. Sagat’s shots are closer to ST speed so keep that in mind. At this range your opponent jumping a shot is no threat so feel free to lay on the shot barrage. Once your opponent starts jumping over them is when you need to start paying closer attention. Alot of characters have ways of avoiding high shots but will still eat a low so you will find yourself relying more on low shot vs those chars. Remember Sagat can still kara cancel into shots. To kara cancel you must low step then tiger shot at the last moment. Doesn’t work with a raw high step kick. the other higher level method is to use the one projectile rule to your advantage. This game only lets on projectile from each character on screen at a time. You can’t rapid fire multiple shots for this reason. So try throwing a slow low shot then right before your opponent blocks it, do another low shot with hk then hit another kick button/punch. What will happen is Sagat will step forward for a high step kick, but as soon as the first shot is blocked he will immediately cancel into another low/high shot. This takes timing. You can also do this with a shot that is leaving the screen, but the timing is different so make sure you practice. Kara shot is important but not quite as important as in SFIV because you can’t combo off a shot, unless it’s EX and you are in the corner. Kara shot is really just for keeping opponents on their toes and pushing them back towards the corner. Still it’s good to know Sagat has such strong zoning options at his disposal. For Tiger shot zoning mk low shot feels closer to AE Sagat’s hk shot. Good if you are making the transition from AE to SFXT.
This range can be unsettling if you don’t know your options. Tiger shots are still viable but be very careful. Trying to throw them off alot will just get you jumped in on for a fat punish combo. Throw some cautiously to test your opponent and be ready to AA on reaction at any time. This range is where Sagat gets alot of his damage so make those AA’s count. A well spaced kara knee is a very nice option as it will put Sagat at + on block to start his offense. If you really feel you must throw a shot make it a slow low one so by the time it reaches your opponent Sagat will be close to fully recovered. You can try jumping back to reset your spacing. EX TK is a very good option here. It will beat pretty much anything that isn’t invincible and sets up for combos. Faking shots with st.lp is good and you will build meter as well. Fake kick is very strong here. You will build stupid amounts of meter with rapid back to back fake kicks and your opponent will probabaly feel inclined to stop you. If they rush at you recklessly take advantage of it.
Sagat is still strong here. St.lk buffered into cr.mp is a great boost combo hit confirm and safe on block except from extremely fast supers like Ken’s. St.lk itself is a very good whiff punish and a good buffer tool. It can punish pretty much any whiffed low forward or sweep as long as you are fast enough. Being + on block increases its usefulness making it one of the pillars of his offense/footsies. LK/MK TK are gold at this range and beat alot of pokes. Both are + on block when spaced well and knock opponents back on hit. St.mk and cr.mp are awesome buffers into launcher as well. Strike at the air when your opponent is just out of range and hit HK+HP after your normal. If you hit nothing then nothing happens. If your opponent hit a button, you will more then likely stuff them and luanch them for your partner to follow up with a combo. St.HP is great for its pushback but can be used to buffer too. Low step kick is a good footsie tool to use. Pushes opponent and Sagat back. But he can’t combo after it hits. It is purely a spacing tool.
The main ways you would get into this situation offensively is after a blocked LK/MK/EX TK, after a cross up, jump-in or if you were feeling ballsy maybe you just dashed right up to your opponent. In terms of block strings and pressure. Cr.jabs are the way to go since that is a natural frame trap. St.lk is slightly worse at closer ranges since its only +1 but its 2 hits so its a very easy hit confirm into cross rush. St.lp is very nice because up close its puts Sagat at +4 then cr.lp is a true block string. If you create some space you can do a low forward into low shot for a fiarly safe block string. Same works with lk/mk tk and you can continue your offense. Do NOT tiger shot up near point blank. This will put Sagat at -9 and you will eat a fat punish. If you have frame advantage you have a 3 way mix-up between throw/overhead/cr.lk. Throws will put your opponent at full screen and do 140 damage. But be careful. Throws are slow in this game with little range. They come out on frame 7. Also on wake-up your opponent can roll forward to get back in your space, so be aware of that. Overhead does 100 so its decent by itself but on CH it will cause a ground bounce that Sagat can combo from. This gives him a legit scary mix-up when he is near his opponent and makes them much more hesistant to crouch tech therefore opening the door for him to score more throws. From a cr.lk you can hit confirm into boost or just go for a link combo for decent damage.
In the Corner
Sagat is very strong when he has his opponent cornered. TK’s can lead to full juggle combos and he has full control over the spacing as well so his walk speed is much less of an issue. If you get in this situation you need to keep your opponent here as long as possible. Take care not to over extend yourself so you can maintain your advantage.
These are really just Sagat’s main practical BnB’s. There are tons of combos in this game so experiment and have fun. Any of the non high step combo that is listed can be started off a cross up or jump in.
Cr.lk, cr.lp, cr.mp ~ Special move/Super/Cross Art - Main link combo off his low short. Cancel into anything to end it. TU for damage, TK for positioning, Super/Cross Art for even more damage or the KO.
St.lk, cr.mp, st.hp, launcher - His main cross rush combo in Sagat’s partner. Hit confirm off the cr.mp to stay safe.
High Step Kick, High Step Kick, HP TU/Tiger Genocide - His main AA BnB. Can tag cancel into his partner off TU. Only do Tiger Genocide for the KO.
High Step Kick, Cross Art - Great damage. Good to cripple your opponent and get your partner in.
Cr.mp, cr.mp ~ Special move/Super/Cross art - Good punishing hit confirm. This is also Sagat’s main juggle ender after being tagged in.
Cr.mp, cr.mk ~ Special move/Super/Cross Art - Sagat’s other main juggle ender when the second cr.mp won’t reach.
EX TK, J.Hp, land, HP TU - Sagat’s ender for any combo using EX TK.
High step kick (Trade with jump in) High step, HP TU. Yes the King can still trade. Depending on sapcing you may need to just end it with a TU.
HP TU (Trade), High Step kick, HP TU - Same concept as above but slightly more damaging.
Cr.mk ~ HP TU - Sagat’s main ender after a CH overhead ground bounce.