To me, the wake up game is the single most important aspect of Rufus’s game. Rufus is a character that excels in shredding the opponent when he fears you and constantly attempting to psyche him out when he doesn’t.
Mastering the wake up game is what makes Rufus truly scary, and what makes his most difficult match-ups, not so difficult.
At the same time, Rufus’s defense is quite nuanced. At the low level, you can spam Ex Messiah on wake up all day and dominate. But against opponents who know how to bait and punish the Ex Messiah, that doesn’t work. So, you need to really understand all his different options on wake up when you’re being rushed down by someone who knows what he’s doing, otherwise your Rufus is going to spend the match being rushed down instead of doing what he does best- Rushing the other guy down.
In short- Rufus’s wake up game is important and deep enough that I think it deserves its own thread.**
Discuss all the mind games that take place when the opponent is waking up and when Rufus is waking up in this thread.
I want to start this thread with something I only just started incorporating into my Rufus game…
Okizeme After a Tornado
Even after playing Rufus for the better part of a year now, this is something I only realized after watching one of Kindevu’s recent matches. Its a simple, but VERY important fact:
After a Tornado connects. If you jump forward, and the opponent fast recovers, you’ll be safely in front of the opponent.
Why is this important? Because this one single jump, is the best way to close distance. Most of us Rufus players do funny shenanigans like dash forward or roll forward or dive kick forward, but none of these moves will put you in the perfect position to pressure the opponent just as he wakes up.
Once you realise that jumping forward immediately after a connected Tornado will leave you safe in front of the opponent, then you can develop a whole set of wake up games (aka, Okizime) from there.
I want to emphasise that all this applies only if the opponent fast recovers. Its fine though, because if the opponent doesn’t fast recover, you have more than enough time to set up a cross up dive kick after.
So there are 3 main options to consider:
Option 1: The Safe Jump
This is the most powerful option but the hardest to do consistently.
A safe jump is a jump attack where if the opponent does an anti-air, you will be able to land and block in time. If the opponent doesn’t do an anti-air, your jump attack will connect with him.
Now in SF4, there are certain moves that are unsafe jumpable. These are- all of Ryu’s shoryukens, all of Akuma’s shoryukens, Ken’s Heavy punch SRK, Blanka’s Ex Ball, Chun-li’s Super, and Zangief’s Ex SPDs, and possibly Abel’s Ex Grab.
Everything else IS safe jumpable. So Sagat is 100% safe jumpable. So is Boxer. And a whole bunch of other characters.
How to Safe jump after a Tornado:
After a tornado connects, walk forward for like 1/4 of a second (i’m estimating here, could be shorter or longer by a little) then jump forward and do a fierce punch, then immediately block on landing.
If you did it right, characters like Sagat will have their uppercut blocked if they uppercutted, and they will be hit if they don’t uppercut.
The difficulty here is timing the forward walk. The timing is VERY precise on this one. Which is why even though this option is the most powerful one, you shouldn’t risk it every time, because if you screw up and walk forward just a bit too much, you get uppercutted into Ultra.
This is why you need to mix up.
Option 2: The Safe Jump In
This one is simple. Just jump forward right after the tornado, then
2a) Crouch block and crouch tech just after the opponent gets up.
This works, because after the opponent gets up and you’ve just jumped right in front of him, there are only few things he can do:
- Throw you.
- Throw light attacks
- Jump backwards or some other evasive action.
So if the opponent throws, you tech. If he reversal uppercuts, you block and can punish. If he throws a light attack, your light kick will lose/trade with his. If he runs away… well that still means you successfully applied pressure on him. If he blocks, you pressure him with light attacks.
2b. The other option is to do a Dive kick right after jumping forward. This will beat his counter throw and give you a combo to boot but will lose to an uppercut. Its a good mix up to consider when you can sense fear from the opponent.
2c. Yet another option is to simply throw him. Self-explanatory.
2d. Ex Messiah. The answer to all of life’s problems.
Option 3: The non-safe jump
This is simply what happens if you mistime the safe jump and do it too late. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because its a very tough jump in for the opponent to judge if he should uppercut. If you’ve psyched him out with safe jumps and safe jump-in’s before, this is always a good option to go for to keep the pressure on him.
Well that ends my mini-article on the art of Oki after a tornado. I want to emphasise that this is something I only just started incorporating into my game, but I find that it helps against certain matches A LOT.