It’s been a while, as I’ve been busy with non-SF4-related activities, but I’ve also been consumed with Championship Mode.
I’ve finally achieved G1 ranking and the difference in competition between G1 and G2 is the same as the difference between night and day. The level of competition is just through the roof, and to be honest, I was getting my ass handed to me consistently in the first few matches, to the point where I thought I’d dip below the 15K GP mark.
I’ve never had so much fun losing in my life. Everyone knows the matchups and executes very well. One really has to be on their game to just exist at this level.
That being said, I can’t imagine my game not getting better much quicker at this level.
Some things of note at G1:
- If you lose the first battle, you LOSE 5 GP.
- If you go below 15K GP because of losses in the first round, you will still retain your G1 status.
- Winning in the following rounds gains you at least the following points (can be more since there is a slight variation depending on the difficulty of the matchup):
- 2nd – 10 GP
- 3rd – 20 GP
- 4th – 50 GP
- 5th loss – 100 GP
- 5th win – 160 GP
I find it odd that the win for the competition gives you only 60% more GP than a loss. It seems disproportionate. I almost wouldn’t mind losing at that level (as opposed to G2, where you only get half for a loss in the finals).
A lot of Boxer players are using an outstretched palm (not sure which attack it is) which stuffs a lot of Sagat’s AA options. Other than altering spacing/timing, I haven’t found a better AA option (with the exception of a Tiger Uppercut up close).
Some Chun players have taken to throwing a fireball, dashing forward once, and then using cr.HK when the opponent jumps over the fireball. The cr.HK seems to have very high priority here. I think that a well-timed MP on the way down (or a LK if actually jumping over her) would help here.
Now, when I see that she has her Revenge meter charged for an Ultra, I completely shut down the projectile game. Her Ultra can hit Sagat from across the screen on reaction. The take away from this is when Chun has Ultra, only throw a Tiger Shot when you see forward movement. The forward movement means that the charge has been lost so a Tiger Shot is safe to throw (but open to her jumping over it or throwing an EX projectile of her own, of course).
It just doesn’t seem right that his Super Combo sets up the Ultra Combo.
I’m feeling much more comfortable with the matchup now, as there are more Gens online than there were before. The specific Gen that gave me so much trouble doesn’t seem to be around much, but I’m faring much better against him now. Specifically, I figured out how to block the wall dive shenanigans.
Specifically, most Gens try to cross up on knockdown, and then if they knock you down again, do the wall dive from the opposite wall to try and get you from behind again. The best advice here is being able to differentiate between him jumping to cross you up or going to the opposite wall.
What confused me the most till now was that it seemed like I was being juggled with the wall dive after the knockdown. It seems like a stupid realization, but Gen moves in such odd ways that it’s hard to pick up if you don’t see it often, which, I don’t, since I don’t know many people online who play Gen.
A common bait that I see is to charge a Focus Attack just out of range. It actually pulls Dictator back a little, and then springs forward, so the sequence between Dictator and the opponent is typically:
- Dictator charges Focus Attack, animation pulls him back in the process.
- Opponent whiffs attack in response to Focus Attack charge.
- Dictator’s Focus Attack finishes, landing and penetrating any block.
The key here is to not be baited into attacking when being zoned by Dictator. In this case, I typically use the sounds of the Focus Attack building to remind me to not attack.
It’s analogous to MLB umpires calling a force play at a base, they will have an eye on the base, and listen for the sound of the ball hitting the mitt of the defensive player. Whichever event occurs first (the foot on the base or the sound of the ball hitting the mitt) wins.
If you see Dhalsim flash (which indicates he is telporting), flash the elbow (i.e. LP). It will come out before any move he has after he appears near you. It’s much safer than any other option, and with the low amount of health that Dhalsim has (only Seth and Gouki have less), it does enough.
It’s very possible that Sagat’s height plays a factor here, and that shorter characters (think Cammy here) would whiff because the offensive hitboxes are not high enough to hit Dhalsim out of the air when he teleports close.
I love grabbing him out of the Grab out of the Marseille Roll. A LOT of Abel players still don’t know this.
If Ken does his Ultra Combo in reaction to Sagat’s Ultra Combo, Ken’s Ultra Combo will win.
When punishing a whiffed Ultra Combo with Sagat’s Ultra Combo, the response has to be timed so that she is not on the ground when the Ultra Combo Animation occurs. If so, Sagat’s Ultra Combo could go right over her, as she crouches on one knee when she hits the ground.
This beast can actually kara-cancel into a throw?!?!
Granted, he doesn’t have any more range on a throw than most other characters (frame data indicates that it a typical 0.9), but the fact that he is so dangerous up close (and this is a technique to get you in closer) makes anyone who knows it much more dangerous.
Blanka’s Ultra Combo was the bane of my existence for so long when it was done close to my character. I would always get caught by it, even when I thought I was blocking.
Then I found out that you have to block down when Blanka is going up and then block up for the rest of the combo.
I consider this discovery to be a personal victory, it was that annoying.
A nice little loop with Blanka is to block a non-EX Rolling Attack, and then throw a Low Tiger Shot followed up with a HK. More often than not, Blanka will jump foward, and can almost always be countered with a HK from Sagat. The only thing to be careful of here is if he has EX meter charged, as his response can be to do another Rolling Attack but an EX one this time, which will go through the Tiger Shot. The HK is quick enough in this situation to do it on reaction, which is key (I’d never recommend a reaction based purely on faith of the follow-up move).
If Blanka takes to jumping straight up after you throw the Low Tiger Shot HK, use the Tiger Shot LK instead, and he will land on it.
For a long time, I haven’t used the cr.MK because of the frame advantage it has over the cr.MP and not wanting to be punished when crossing-up on someone with a j.LK.
However, I’ve found it very useful against Ken, Zangief and Boxer, in that when they try to zone you, you can use the cr.MP (at risk of punishment of course) to change the distance between you and them, which typically nullifies the moves they poke you with when you whiff. I’ve found a good follow-up to the cr.MK is the cr.HP, as Ken, Zangief and Boxer will typically try to react, and the cr.HP has a quicker startup than most of the follow-up moves these characters present.
For a long time now, I always wondered why when blocking Blanka’s Backstep Rolling Attack I could counter with F+HK –> Low Tiger Shot and have it hit, while I couldn’t do the same combo after having a Tiger Uppercut stuffed without doing an EX move.
It turns out that you can basically juggle with two normal moves, and to get the third juggle you must use an EX move, Super Combo, or Ultra Combo. So the following all work:
- F+HK –> F+HK –> EX/Super/Ultra
- Stuffed Tiger Uppercut – > F+HK –> EX/Super/Ultra
- Tiger Uppercut –> FADC –> F+HK –> EX/Super/Ultra
So the general rule is when juggling, the third hit of the juggle MUST be an EX/Super/Ultra.
Here’s an example of the first item in the list in a Top 8 Match at East Coast Throwdown between Gootecks (Boxer) and Long Island Joe (Sagat):
Another great thing to note is how he uses the LK –> Tiger Knee/Tiger Shot. It’s a great tick move that I haven’t gotten down yet. However, there are frames in between that can be punished, but in this case I don't know that Boxer has any response to it. I would NOT suggest using this against anyone that has a move with invulnerable frames on startup and doesn't require charge, as that move can probably be used to counter in between the LK and Tiger Knee/Tiger Shot.
Finally, because of the following Twitter comment by thenk83:
@manny7 rufus have any gap killers? with sagat, a kara tk will launch u across the screen. but i gotta catch'em when missing fireballs. #SF4
I didn’t think anything about it when I first read it, but it definitely stuck in my mind a few days later when I did it by accident. Until this time, I had thought that the HK was the primary kara-able move, but it turns out that’s not the case.
The primary kara-able move is really F+LK. All it takes to put it together is seeing it once and knowing that your move travelled a LOT farther than it normally would. Then a little training in practice mode is all it takes to lock it down.
Here’s a great video showing how it’s done, as well as the differences in appearance and range of the moves when kara-cancelling them.
So what’s the use? Basically, you would use it to close the gap when the moves in themselves won’t do it. Here’s a great example of Long Island Joe using it in another Top 8 match at East Coast Throwdown:
Notice how after after Sagat throws Ken (from behind during the recovery of the Hadouken), he kara-cancels the F+LK into the Tiger Knee to position himself in front of Ken to throw him shortly after wakeup.
I’ve noted that you can kara-cancel the F+LK into both the Tiger Knee and the Tiger Uppercut. From across the screen, it can be deadly. The great part about kara-cancelling into the Tiger Knee is that if moving forward, you can anchor the beginning of the move in the F+LK which would make for a more fluid execution. This is especially important against Boxer, where a Tiger Knee is very effective, but sometimes difficult to do on demand.
The other great thing about this is that it can be used as a deke, baiting the opponent into a reaction based on the F+LK, which is then punished by either the Tiger Uppercut or the Tiger Knee. The sequence goes like this:
- Sagat executes F+LK.
- Opponent begins to counter.
- Sagat executes Tiger Knee or Tiger Uppercut to punish (use Tiger Uppercut if you need invulnerability).
It’s also great when you need to close the distance on someone, particularly Dhalsim or Seth players that like to jump forward with outstretched limbs. Also, it’s possible when someone jumps forwards to punish them with either, even from a distance, which is nice, because it really helps keep the pressure on.
Some other tricks I’ve done is to punish a fireball, but it’s VERY difficult to do, as you have to cancel with the Tiger Uppercut before the fireball hits you, but close enough to hit the opponent when executing. A more effective tactic is to Tiger Knee over the projectile from across the screen so you are right in their face. This is particularly effective against Akuma’s triple fireball if timed correctly, as well as his air fireball, as it allows you to get under them and then propel forward and limit his space (since people play him so defensively).
In the end, it’s a great move that catches a lot of people off guard, typically at the wrong moments.