The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.
What is he good at?
Sagat, is a very classic type of fighter, in that his game plan has always been very simple: throw a lot of fireballs from far away to frustrate the opponent and then uppercut them when they decide to jump. In SFV, this gameplan is virtually unchanged. Sagat has a great fireball game, lots of anti-airs and the ability to cancel the beginning of his f.MK and f.HK attacks into his specials. A technique known as “kara-ing.” If you are the type of player who enjoys playing a basic fireball uppercut game and dishing out hard damage when the opponent makes mistakes, Sagat is definitely the character for you.
Sagat’s footsies will mostly revolve around his fireball game, alternating between low and high Tiger Shots [qcf.LK and qcf.LP, respectively]. Although he does have a great set of normal attacks that help keep the enemy at bay.
Sagat’s s.MK is one of his longest-reaching normals that doesn’t cause him to move forward. This attack has him reach his leg out almost horizontally, which allows it to go over low attacks almost entirely. He cannot cancel it into any special attacks, but it is great for keeping enemies at by at about half a screen length away. It’s also less risky than throwing a fireball, if you’re worried about your opponent jumping.
Sagat’s high Tiger Shot special attack. The speed it moves depends on what button you press, with LP being the slowest, and HP being the fastest. This attack will not hit opponents who are crouching. For that reason it’s useful for keeping opponents in place. An opponent who is crouching cannot move and so this serves as a way to make opponents impatient and want to jump. It should also be noted that the punch version of tiger shot animation ends more quickly than the kick version.
Sagat’s low Tiger Shot or “Grand Tiger Shot” special attack. Like the punch version, the button you press depends on how quickly it moves. LK being the slowest and HK being the fastest. This attack, although the animation is longer, will hit opponents who are crouching.
You Must Learn to Kara
Sagat has a myriad of anti-air options for nearly every range and situation. It should be noted that in situations where you believe a normal Tiger Uppercut [dp.P] will not hit, you should consider using a kara tiger uppercut by cancelling the beginning of f.HK or f.MK into a tier uppercut. To perform this, simple do the forward moving normal attack and quickly input the dragon punch motion. It is easier to do with the f.MK attack, however, to truly master the character you should eventually master doing it with the f.HK into dragon punch.
dp.LP / dp.MP
Sagat’s main anti-air. If you want to be successful with the character, you must learn to punish jump attacks with tiger uppercut. The dp.LP has very little forward range, but will never lose to a jumping attack. Meanwhile, dp.MP will sometimes trade with jump in attacks from your opponent but does have a bit more forward range.
If your opponent performs a jump from very far away, you can do a heavy punish with f.HK. If this hits, it will put the opponent in a juggle state that will allow you to follow-up with a tiger uppercut for more damage.
In some rare cases, you may opt to take to the sky with your opponent to beat their air attack. If you decide to do this, j.MP should be your go to button. Like other basic, fireball/uppercut characters, this move will also put the opponent in a juggle state should it hit them. You can usually follow up on the ground with a tiger uppercut to finish them off.
c.LK, c.LP xx dp.HP / dp.MK
Your basic combo starter from a light attack. If you’re aiming to get more damage, go with the HP Tiger Uppercut [dp.HP]. Use the Tiger Knee [dp.MK] instead if you’re looking to push your opponent further into the corner, get yourself out of the corner, or put your opponent in a lock-down fireball situation when they recover from the knockdown. Considering this begins from a light attack, you’re likely not going to be doing a heavy punish and should opt to most often finish with the tiger knee
s.MP, c.MP xx dp.HP / dp.HK
This is your combo starter that also acts as a frame trap. Keep in mind that doing the HK version of the tiger knee really moves you far forward, allowing you to make up a lot of ground, however your ability to set the opponent up with they recover is weakened a bit. If you’re really trying to set the opponent up here, you’ll likely want to finish with the MK version of tiger knee. It will net you less damage, but the trade-off is more potential damage when they get up.
s.HK, c.MP xx dp.HP
Your heavy punish using no resources.
s.HK, c.MP xx dp.LK, dp.PP [CORNER]
This combo requires the opponent be in the corner when follow-up. The dp.PP hits the opponent very very low to the ground, and your first inclination is that they will not be able to be hit, but definitely practice this so you can see for yourself and make better informed decisions in a real match. It’s possible, just doesn’t look so at first glance.
s.HK, c.MP xx qcf.PP, f.HK[dp.PP] or [dp.P [scar]]
Sagat’s strongest combo option using one bar. This combo is a bit tricky because it requires a f.HK kara Tiger Uppercut. My recommendation is to use this whenever you have a scar stocked [V-Skill]. Having to use EX Tiger Uppercut is really a lot of resources to be used on a simple punish, and honestly isn’t worth the meter usage.
s.LP, s.MP, c.MP
Sagat’s frame traps are really simple, but there is absolutely a lot to unpack here with the ability to throw fireballs and perform tiger knees. The s.LP, s.MP, c.MP frame trap has a lot that it allows. If the opponent tries to attack between the s.LP, s.MP they will be counter-hit and you can follow up with the c.MP into Tiger Knee or Tiger Uppercut. On the chance that you have Critical Art stock, after the counter-hit s.MP, you can do s.HK, qcf.qcf.K. This is not a cancel and will require you to link the super. Please practice this before attempting in a real match as the timing feels a little strange.
If the opponent blocks the entire string, you can perform either a LP Tiger Shot [qcf.LP] or LK Grand Tiger Shot [qcf.LK]. If you do the LP Tiger shot, the opponent must duck and you can follow up with a LK Tiger Knee [dp.LK]. If you do LK Tiger Shot, you can do a HK Tiger Knee. If the opponent blocks this, you can follow up with a s.LK and will almost always beat an opponent’s attack.
Okizeme [Knockdown Pressure]
Sagat’s knockdown pressure is very straight forward and actually probably among the safest in the entire game. He doesn’t need to commit to running up and guessing the opponents wake up, whether it’s quick or back recovery. He can simply throw fireballs and set up traps if the opponent wakes up.
After the LK Tiger Knee, you should immediately throw a LP Tiger Shot. The opponent must guard this regardless if they quick or back recover. From there, you should immediately throw a HK Grand Tiger Shot. If the opponent jumps over the fireball, you will always be in position to anti-air them. If they are far away, do a f.HK followed by a dp.HP. If they are close, simply dp.LP. If the opponent blocks they will be back to full screen and Sagat and continue the fireball / anti-air game.
dp.MK / dp.HK
This is the same as above except the fire Tiger Shot you throw should be MP Tiger Shot, instead of the LP Tiger Shot. The set-ups work the same.
If Sagat back throws the opponent, you can immediately spend 1 meter by doing EX Tiger Knee [dp.KK]. After the Tiger knee, you will have advantage and will be able to follow up with s.MP
Like any other basic shoto-style character’s, Sagat’s defense rests on his EX Tiger Uppercut, with it’s invincibility. In addition, his V-Reversal [f.KKK] will knock the opponent down and put some space between the two characters so Sagat can start up his fireball game again. Be careful however as, if it is blocked, he is at a disadvantage.
Sagat’s V-Skill is fairly straight forward. By pressing MP + MK, he performs Angry Charge, a power-up move that charges up energy and if successful, his next Tiger Uppercut will have some additional properties. It will juggle in some combos that it previously did not juggle in before [Check the combo section for more information here]. It also has improve damage and stun [+ 30 DMG / + 50 STUN]. You cannot stack this effect multiple times, by doing multiple. The animation for Angry Charge is quite long, so really be careful when you use it. Sagat gains V-gauge if he hits an opponent with a powered up Tiger Uppercut.
Recommended V-Trigger 2 Combo:
s.HK, s.MP xVTx, s.HP xx f.HP+HK xx HP + HK [Level 2 Charge] f.HK[dp.HP]
Sagat’s V-Trigger 2 will be your V-Trigger of choice. It affords him two new attacks that work in tandem to force the opponent away from Sagat, while also giving him greater combo opportunity up close. His first move, Tiger Spike, is a chargeable kick attack that can be charged to 3 levels. The first level is a basic hit and can be achieved by simply tapping HP + HK. The second level, if you hold HP + HK, will have Sagat perform the kick attack, however if it hits, will cause the opponent to spin in mid-air and in some situations will allow you to follow-up with a f.HK kara HP Tiger Uppercut. Finally, the level 3 version if the attack is held to it’s maximum length will guard-break a blocking opponent, allowing you again to follow up with a f.HK kara HP Tiger Uppercut. What makes this attack even better is that it has a single hit of super armor, allowing it absorb some attacks and then retaliate. To get the maximum potential from this move, you need to make your opponent afraid of the level 3 and then hit them with the level 2 when they try to get away from the charging animation.
The second attack Sagat gains in V-Trigger 2 is Tiger Rush. This is a two step forward moving attack that you can cancel the ending of into Tiger Spike. Be careful as this attack can usually be punished if blocked by an opponent.
Sagat’s V-Trigger 1, will be your V-trigger in certain match-ups where both Sagat and the enemy fight from far away. Characters like Guile who can compete with Sagat’s fireball game from far away, might be good candidates for V-Trigger 1. Sagat’s V-Trigger 1, gives him access to a 5-hit fireball that travels very quickly, and cannot be ducked under. This can help turn the tide in some situations where you’re having trouble competing in the fireball war. You can use this to quickly gain the advantage. In addition, these fireballs can be canceled into from Sagat’s s.HP or c.HP allowing him some hard hitting combo opportunities if you’re close and need to dish out some more damage.