SF4 Biweekly TACV 17: Sagat
Sagat may not seem like an exciting combo video candidate at first glance, but how could the consensus strongest character in the game not to have at least a few interesting tricks? Between his overall damage output, generous juggle potential, frame advantage across the board, and kara-cancel movement capabilities, there’s plenty to work with.
0:11 Sagat’s whiff F+HK xx HP Tiger Uppercut catches Zangief’s rotating feet from maximum range without sacrificing damage. In fact, every regular Tiger Uppercut in this video registers full first-phase damage. There’s a slight delay before the F+HK juggle to avoid slipping under Gief, but the rest is airtight. Although he doesn’t bounce higher than average, Zangief is a useful combo dummy because his falling hitbox is bulky enough to reach up into the fourth phase of Sagat’s EX Tiger Uppercut.
0:20 Dhalsim’s c.LP extends into Sagat’s LK Low Tiger Shot roughly 17 frames after its first active frame, generating a counterhit in the process. Sagat pushes some buttons and finds himself at the perfect distance to cross over crouching Sim with two-hit EX Tiger Knee. At this point, Dhalsim is the only character who floats high enough to get hit by EX High Tiger Shot, which allows Sagat to follow up with a few bonus hits of Tiger Destruction. Note that the spacing for the EX Tiger Knee crossup was actually established via the starting point of the combo, because projectile pushback doesn’t reflect off the corner. Furthermore, this combo only works in the right corner. EX Tiger Knee strictly refuses to cross into the left corner, and the downward portion always whiffs midscreen.
0:32 All three of Sagat’s command normal attacks are contained in this combo, along with a pair of Fake Kicks for good measure. Although Sagat’s j.HK hurts less than j.HP does, only j.HK strikes low enough to make Seth lean forward into F+HK. Otherwise it simply whiffs over his head. Normally Sagat’s close s.HP grants +4 frame advantage while his far s.LK connects on the 6th frame. However, Seth’s crumple animation visibly dips under Sagat’s fist, then rises into s.HP as a meaty setup to round out those 2 missing frames. Everything else is fairly straightforward. This combo tallies exactly 750 stun to dizzy Seth, amounting to 518 damage.
0:45 Standard projectiles generate 30 frames of combined impact freeze and hit stun. It’s uncommon for non-knockdown attacks to outlast a fireball interrupt, but the first hit of Sagat’s HK Tiger Knee causes 14 frames of impact freeze plus 24 frames of hit stun – leaving Sagat at +8 after the trade. With proper spacing, the second hit of MK Tiger Knee can avoid most crouching dummies until its descent, reducing Sagat’s recovery time dramatically. Evidently Rose’s falling hitbox is special, because sometimes the first uppercut of Tiger Destruction hits her once then misses the last hit – which happens to be the trigger for the flaming cinematic uppercut. The ultra simply halts without it, allowing Sagat to step into the corner and juggle her out with five-hit LK Tiger Genocide. This combo deals 377 damage and 490 stun.
1:03 Ken’s crouching hitbox is far more conducive to this combo than Rose’s or Guile’s, but his LP Hadoken travels much faster than LP Soul Spark or LP Sonic Boom. After several hours of experimentation, he’s finally capable of orchestrating an effective fireball interrupt setup. When Ken kara-cancels HK air Hurricane Kick into EX Hurricane Kick, he gains a huge momentum burst until he lands. It’s even enough to transport sluggish characters like Sagat across the stage. There are six Tiger Knees in this combo – all HK versions except the two-hit MK Tiger Knee near the end. Since HK Tiger Knee xx FADC, c.LP is a one-frame link, Sagat can’t use any other attacks during those loops.
1:15 Sagat’s High Tiger Shot normally provides +2 frame advantage, while his quickest attack is c.LP which connects on the 3rd frame. It’s actually quite easy to whiff a High Tiger Shot right over Dan’s head after j.HP, but landing that meaty LP High Tiger Shot requires precise timing and spacing. Dan’s body naturally sinks and rebounds during crumple animation, so avoiding the first active frame of LP High Tiger Shot following lvl2 Focus Attack is purely a matter of timing. The rest of the combo is conventional.
1:31 Blanka’s notoriously elusive hitbox makes him a prime candidate for meaty High Tiger Shot setups. It’s difficult to delay fireball impact by one extra frame against most dummy characters. With Blanka, c.MP xx LP High Tiger Shot produces +6 frame advantage! That’s enough to link far s.LK and cancel into another fireball. Of course it requires absurdly precise spacing, and Sagat needs to walk forward during every frame gap throughout the combo to stay within range, but the end result is six fireballs via three loops. Lastly, whiffing Blanka’s s.HK provides the meaty counterhit setup for the seventh fireball at the beginning. Every High Tiger Shot in this combo is the LP version except the final one, which must be the MP version because Sagat gradually loses ground and the LP version doesn’t combo anymore. Killing Blanka with the last fireball would create a free juggle state, but Sagat can’t seem to recover in time to add anything further from that range.
1:42 What sets this combo apart from everyone else’s damage attempts is the eleven-hit Tiger Destruction ultra at the end. Usually it juggles ten times, which would fall short of killing Seth at 742 damage. There are two keys to extracting the eleventh hit against Seth. Firstly, the Tiger Knee part of the ultra must juggle four times, which only happens when all four hits come in quick succession. By contrast, the ultra connects on its first active frame against Dan, which gives him too much time to float upward before the second hit becomes active. By the third hit, he’s flying clear above Sagat’s head. To prevent this, the ultra must be initiated while Seth is high in the air to bypass its first few active frames, thereby compressing the gaps between the remaining ones. The problem is getting close enough, fast enough, without relying on the corner – because using the corner to land the Tiger Knee part of the ultra always sacrifices four of the cinematic uppercut’s six hits. After optimizing everything else, it turns out the trick is to kara-cancel HP Tiger Uppercut into Tiger Destruction. One frame of HP Tiger Uppercut covers more ground than one frame of Sagat’s walk speed. Secondly, whenever the Tiger Knee part of the ultra juggles four times midscreen, the uppercut whiffs. That’s where the corner comes in – it can be utilized to finish the ultra, but the gap needs to remain wide enough to keep the cinematic uppercut from sliding all the way in and bouncing Seth out. Finally, all three versions of Sagat’s Tiger Genocide have identical damage data, but the MK option recovers significantly faster so it’s obviously the best version to employ here. Another HP Tiger Uppercut kara-cancel was used before the super, but that’s not as essential because there are other ways to handle that. This combo inflicts 767 damage and 450 stun.
This is a tool-assisted combo video recorded with two ASCII PAD V Pro programmable controllers. Absolutely no cheats, hacks, or game-altering devices were used in the making of.