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Rugal, at best, is middle middle tier. His pokes and projectiles are subpar and his godpress is horrendously slow. He has no good links into strong practical hit confirm BnBs, and is also plagued with a slow and bad hitbox dp. So why use Rugal you ask? He's decent at guard crushing, and is second to none at doing huge damage. In most practical situations, he can do more damage than A-Bison paint the fence custom off of random c lks (TM). Also, with a 2000 damage P throw, Rugal does indeed get dangerous at close range. He has one of the best j hks in the game, comparable to Blanka's, and also the fastest dash in the game. While his pokes do not excel in range, they have quite decent priority. Also, any godpress or super corners the opponent, making RC/parry Rugal very intimidating indeed.
Besides, he's a one eyed Hitler hailing guy in a red suit with a pet panther. And Guile statues.
But seriously, don't pick this character unless you're willing to do a lot of work. He does have potential against top tiers, but I won't lie to you, Rugal takes a ton of work and some good psychicing.
Frame Data Chart
Japanese CvS2 Data Book Scan
Rugal's section in the book is available here:
Far and Close Standing LP
Hits 77 pixels high, so it will hit crouching Sagat and taller. Has good priority and decent meatiness. Use it to stuff Blanka c hps and the like.
Decent priority. Can link into close st hp or c mp. Can stop some low mid pokes (Blanka c hp). Don't use it a lot.
Pretty useless. An elbow drop with a horrendous hitbox. Cancels into dark smash, but that doesn't mean very much really. Good for style and pretending to be a pro-wrestler I guess. Never use it seriously.
Far and Close Standing MP
Basic anti-air. This is the one to use if they're normal/super jumping in close to you. Don't touch otherwise.
Great damage, wicked priority. Stuffs Blanka and Sagat c hps, and some other similiar moves. Magically anti airs just about every low jump in the game. Can also anti air crossups and normal jump ins, but the timing is extremely tight and weird (only 3 hitting frames, not all 3 will beat the jump in...oddly). Probably his best prioritied move. Does not stuff lows though.
Redefines useless. The heil Hitler chop. Why would a tall guy in a business suit ever strike upwards in the air is beyond me. It requires an extreme situation for anyone to even reach the retardedly high hitbox for this move.
Close Standing HP
Links off of point blank c lp. The only time you should use this is when you know it's gonna hit. Always cancel into godpress. For GC strings or not guaranteed hits, use close st hk instead for the better frames. Personally, I always use hk except for doing the link (close st hk requires you to be closer and won't come out after c lp).
Far Standing HP
Decent poke. Retarded damage. Horrendous frames. The only good thing is that no one crouches it. Use it on Iori, Hibiki, and every other less than 62 frame crouch characters instead of c hp. It has less range than c hp too, so be careful.
400+1200 dmg (2-hits)
His best poke. Slow, ok damage, huge range. Beats Sagat c hp, gets beaten by Sagat st hp. At 2/3 the screen away, can be used to stab Sagat's hand when he wants to throw high tigers. Can punish crouch blocked Blanka ball after reversal walking forward a pixel or two, or just reversal c hp on a stand-block (according to Nick T.). Use this move a lot. Be careful of the -10 though, so don't go spraying this too close. Also, can be used to anti air Sagat j hk at the right distances (he arches under the foot).
Air to air. Also generic anti air (j back hp). Can also be used as a sucky dive punch fake. It won't trick them really, but it might psych them out slightly (ie, they'll be momentarily stunned in the wtf state).
Close Standing LK
Looks exactly the same as his close st mk. Use for mind games and mixups. Stronger than c lks and same frames. A decent move. Use mostly for the mind games.
Far Standing LK
Low crush. Very fast, meaty, same frame adv as c lk, but stronger. End c lk chains with this. Stuff lows with this. Run up st lks are decent for slowing inching in. 2 frames more stun over c lk, so if you do lks into level 2, do it with this.
His best normal. Starts all his BnBs. Stop throw attempts. Whiff tricks. Huge range for a c lk. It's just a godly c lk. If you're cancelling into super, I suggest chaining this into st lk first, for more damage and 2 more frames to combo. Max range c lk cancelled too slow will NOT combo into a level 2. Level 3 always works though.
The best of his useless normals. Except it's still useless. A shining wizard. Fine for air to air if your hp button is broken. A lot less damage, but more or less anything j hp beats, this will too. Because its hitbox is so high, you'll have a horrible time trying to hit a grounded opponent with this. Use it for style only. Or if you just really like Keiji Mutoh.
Close Standing MK
Very meaty. Strong. Best use is meatying on wakeup. Either link stuff after it or cancel into reflector. Reflector will combo off a CH.
Far Standing MK
Low crush, safer version of his far st hp. Slightly less range. I prefer this over st hp for < 62 pixel crouchers. The ideal button to press to punish far whiff/far parry into super. That is, if they're far away and open, press st mk super.
Decent poke. Ok for comboing into godpress. Be warned, far c mks will NOT combo into godpress.
Cross-up attack. Decent range. Also an ok angle for non crossups.
Close Standing HK
A high angled thrust kick. Can be used as anti air. Generally. this is his big damage punish button (or GC). Always cancel it. Can anti air big crossups crouching and letting them go past you, then stand up and hk right away. This is easier to cancel than close st hp, so if they're dizzy or GC'ed, use st hk to cancel into God Press.
Far Standing HK
Far anti air. Also, good poke for standing characters. Especially tall ones. Use it to stop near max range Sagat st lks (his lower body hitbox retreats slightly). His best anti air in my opinion. Press it early. More damage than st mp, huger hitbox. Generally, you can use this to stop most jump ins before their normal comes out. If they do it early, it'd have beaten st mp. At least this it trades most likely in your favor.
Great sweep. Decent range, big damage, ok frames, good priority. Poke with this a lot. When in range. Don't always cancel into repuken. Great GC string ender.
Coffin kick. One of the best j hks in the game. Instand overhead vs sagat and taller with low jump. Spam low jump hks like your name is Blanka. Can combo into super or dp after if done slightly later.
Useless Normals Comic Relief Commentary
That said, Jumping LP is an elbow drop that isn't even that meaty nor has a reasonable hitbox/priority. Maybe you can do it on a waking Raiden/Zangief, hope it kills them, then start doing pro-wrestling poses around the arcade. I'm not responsible for any hazardous incidents incuring to you resulting afterwards.
Jumping LK is a shining wizard that may even be less meaty. You can do Jumping Forward LK to antiair for style and start doing Keiji Mutoh poses. I hold no responsibility for possible subsequent IRL brutalizations afterwards. Otherwise, Jumping HP is better in every way.
His Jumping MP's only use is for heiling to Hitler. It's a jumping upwards version of his Standing MP. Bird-riding Nakoruru or air DP Kyosuke are like the only people even hitable by this thing. Again, I take no responsibility for subsequent declines in your physical well being after pressing Jumping MP.
3 frame startup
One of the strongest P throws in the game. Abuse it. 3 dashes after the throw puts you up in their face again. If you link the dashes good, you will be able to meaty them (maybe not Hibiki...).
As cool as it would've been, this move has nothing to do with Sting's Scorpian Deathlock.
5 frame startup
For 100 damage more and less follow up options? Stick with P throw. It does throw them farther, a little more than his P throw. So maybe if you really want them cornered and P throw just won't cut it, then consider this. If you're not sure, I'd stick with P.
Height and Mobility
Mostly from buktooth's system faq on gamefaqs.
79 - Raiden
78 - Geese, Chang
77 - Zangief, Sagat
72 - Eagle
71 - Rugal, Yamazaki, Benimaru
70 - E.Honda
69 - Dhalsim, Terry
68 - Kyo, Joe
67 - Guile, Balrog
66 - Blanka, M.Bison, Kyosuke, Todo
65 - Ryo
64 - Ryu, Ken, Akuma, King, Dan, Rolento, Haohmaru
63 - Vega, Cammy
62 - Morrigan, Yun
61 - Chun Li, Sakura, Mai, Kim, Vice, Yuri, Nakoruru, Rock, Hibiki
60 - Maki, Iori, Athena
62 - standing close fierce
77 - standing far jab
79 - standing far roundhouse
62 - second hit of low fierce (the part that goes really far)
77 - overhead low jump roundhouse
120 pixels travelled
[27 startup/2 upper body invincible/4 full vulnerable recovery]
An average roll. Which means it sucks, btw.
Forward dash: 65/0
Back Dash: 85/11.3
One of the best forward dashes in the game. Short distance yeah, but it's the speed that makes it deadly. He can dash twice in the time it takes a lot of characters to dash once. Consider ending light strings with dash forward throw. Use this to travel very quickly towards opponent. Link them together nicely and you can pseudo wavedash because of its non-existant startup and recovery. You'll also get the "oh snap that looks cool" stun effect and some nice pressure in.
8.5 pixels per second
Average. He shifts his hitbox way forward though. So expect to be smacked now and then.
S-Groove Dodge Punch: see cl st hp
S-Groove Dodge Kick: see far st hk
Counter Attack: 1-hit lk Genocide Cutter, 600 dmg, knockdown/-35, 5/9/41, first 9 frames invincible, airborne frames 10~47
LP 800 -4/-4 15/40
MP 900 -5/-5 15/40
HP 1000 -5/-5 15/40
The slowest ground projectile in the game. It also doesn't really help that it comes out behind him. It will never hit on the first frame that it's out (unless they roll through you or something), so take into account the few frames it takes for it to travel, that means even a hp repu is perfectly safe on block even if they're extremely close to you.
Unfortunately, that's not all that helpful, cuz you want to use lp repu for the big frame advantage, and also, many characters can punish ANY repuken by trading in their favor on reaction, even if the repu is RC'ed.
The most critical use is to predict a cammy st hk and RC through it safely to discourage pokes. That is, use this to replace psychic DP. And I mean psychic, as in not in between strings or any case where you're almost assured to hit a RC godpress.
Overall the frames aren't so bad, so don't hesitate to use this or cancel normals into it during strings. Just be warned that just about anyone can punish you in between the normal and the repu without RC or even an aerial special. A poke that reaches is enough. And from a max range normal, they have enough time to jump over this, so use at your own discretion.
The only person with a worse ground projectile than Rugal, in my opinion, is Iori.
RC lp repu is also a decent anti air, used almost exactly like Guile RC lp sonic booms. They'll land on it for some chip or a CH and you can guard string them afterwards or tack on a normal for some nice damage. Better to take 1300~1600 damage with his normal anti airs if you can though, more guaranteed.
RC lp repu AA is great if you have the lead and don't care about damaging them and just wanna not get hurt. Like, if there's little time left on the timer and you're up vs Blanka, you'll save yourself more health just not getting hurt that trading with his j hk.
LK 1100,1000 knockdown/0 19/63
MK 1100,1000 knockdown/0 19/93
HK 1100,1000 knockdown/0 19/108
Leaving you at 0 frames, this is a sick meaty. RC reflector on wakeup is his (much crappier) version of RC lightning. In the corner, like A-Blanka can turn RC lightning into free CC, Rugal can turn this into a free Genocide Heaven (any level). If you're using him in C, that means 9k damage.
I don't believe he can setup his CC from this, however.
People also love to cancel this off meaty st mks. If the mk CHs, this will combo. Otherwise, it'll leave you in a good position to continue the guard string.
All versions have no upper body invincibilty frames.
LK 1100+400,400 knockdown/-22 6/10/31, 11 frames feet invincibility
MK 1200+400,400 knockdown/-32 5/9/41, 9 frames feet invincibility
HK 1300+500,500 knockdown/-44 4/8/51, 7 frames feet invincibility
Other than for style, never touch this move except for the lk version, and use that sparingly. I can only think of 2 decent uses for this, and that is if you ever find Rugal with no meter, instead of c lks -> super, do c lk -> st lk -> lk genocide cutter IF you want a knockdown. In most situations, you'll only get the second hit (the 400 damage one), totaling a whopping 1k damage (yay, a medium). More on no meter options in later sections...
The other use, which is far more practical, is off a low jump coffin kick (hk). 6 frame startup isn't all that great, so you really gotta cancel it as early as you can.
The third use of this is to DP in between lows if you don't have RC. It's not that bad, because this includes Blanka's lk/mk, Sagat's lk/mk, Geese's hk, etc. RC repu is always better, though. RC godpress if you're very sure it'll hit.
LP 300+1800 knockdown/-23 13/30/25
MP 300+1900 knockdown/-23 13/45/25
HP 300+2000 knockdown/-23 13/60/25
First off, there is never any reason whatsoever to use any other version that the HP one. LP and MP are weaker and actually travel slower. ALWAYS use the HP one.
His trademark move in this game. 13 frame startup and -23 on block is horrifically bad frames, so do not use this move unless it's GUARANTEED to hit. More so than other combo specials. Because of the bad startup and general slowness, it will NOT combo off a far away c mp/mk. I can't think of any situation where you'd want to do this off a c mp, but generally, for the c mk, it'll combo if half your leg is inside them.
Because of the slow startup, only RC this on hards or slow mediums that you know they're gonna throw. Also, because of it's very low hitbox, I would not suggest RC godpress to antiair (the only exception is far sagat j/lj hk).
I don't remember exactly how much damage it does, but it's huge. This also sets up his combo for every groove. Super grooves, free genocide heaven. Try to wait til they're as low as possible to get the maximum hits (level 1 should always be able to get 3 hits, the others I don't remember, but if you really must find out, do them from a reflector and you'll always get the maximum hits). For his CC, you'll want to activate early since his st hk is a little slow.
Whether you super them or not, this will corner the opponent, no matter where they were before. If you're cornered and desperate, an RC godpress can reverse the situation instantly. This gives Rugal a decent edge in space control.
LP 1300,1200 knockdown/+16 24/7
MP 1400,1300 knockdown/+16 32/7
HP 1500,1400 knockdown/+16 38/7
Eats projectiles and keeps going (not supers though). Godly priority. LP comes out quite fast, while HP takes an eon. Do not bait DPs with this. However, HP may be good enough to bait a Direct Lightning and Tiger Cannon.
Most characters in the game very SEVERE trouble antiairing his dive punch. He has to reach a certain height before it can come out though. Also, cannot be done off a low jump.
To make the list shorter, these are the people who can antiair him: anyone with an INVINCIBLE AA special + Ryo (who's is close enough to invincible anyways), clawVega c hp, Chun Li c mp (!!!), Maki c hp, Eagle c hp/st mp, Hibiki st hp (both), Haohmaru c hp
Everyone else must hit it early. Don't worry about Chun Li, no one would think of anti-airing with c mp anyways. So it's safe to spam on her all day. Basically, only invincible or weapon antiairs (cuz weapons don't conduct electricity apparently...).
If the other guy falls under the list of unable to antiair it, ABUSE IT TO DEATH. The stun is huge and ground recovery is very quick. If they JD it, you get free c lks (similiar to the JD deep Sagat j hk -> eat hotfoot super situation). Free 8-10k damage.
Even blocked, press c lk cuz you still get frame advantage even if you hit them at standing Sagat chest level. I'd aim for standing Sagat torso level, so I'm put at point blank with enough frame advantage that they don't have time to reversal me.
Also part of his trademark C-cancel.
If you hit someone in the corner with this, it's as if you hit them with a godpress. They are jugglable, so tack on the Genocide Heaven(s).
If they start trying to react to you doing the dive punch and try to j hp you, just j hp them back the next few times you jump. It allows Rugal to pressure the opponent from the air by combining the threat of this, his j hp air to air, his coffin kick, and empty jump -> 3 frame c lks/2000 P throw.
It even beats the mighty Rock st hk. He can counter you instead, but with that crappy ass counter of his, you can just do a mp one and he'll be out of his countering frames already. Not to mention the empty jump, or his fast recovering j hp whiff to psych out.
Keep in mind who has dps that aren't invincible and you should get at least 1 free dark smash when they try to antiair you (Kyo comes to mind...and ironically, Rugal)
All versions are the same.
<52 frames 1300 knockdown/-26
52~76 frames 900+900 knockdown/-27
>76 frames 800x3 knockdown/-24
Big ass fireball. I mean like, Rugal height sized almost. I'm not sure if slides and spiral arrow even go under it (will test over spring break maybe).
Also the strongest normal projectile in the game (1600 uncharged, 2000+ fully charged). Moves very fast, but has very bad recovery. Only use it at full screen or almost full screen, and only if they don't have roll (or if their name is Cammy or Chang, and anyone else with an extremely bad roll). Very good vs K and P grooves, since they pretty much have to block or try to JD/parry it. Because of its speed and the slow jump frames of K/P, they will have an especially hard time clearing it, especially if they have a slow jump to begin with (Sagat comes to mind). The recovery is quite sluggish, so don't do it on someone like Balrog with meter. But generally, if you ever find yourself full screen, it's free chip. Use sparingly and with discretion. Generally a bad idea to use it against anyone with a fullscreen super and meter for it.
If you do it on raged Sagat, for example (for whatever reason...), don't charge it at all, otherwise they WILL tiger cannon you. But generally, it comes out fast enough and is a rare enough move that they won't super you before the fireball hits if you just tap it.
The speed difference between lp/mp/hp is very small, so I suggest hp in most cases. Use lp if they have roll, does not have a RC to hit you through it, and their roll is relatively sluggish. Better chance for it to hit meaty if they decide to roll before you release.
All versions have 4 frame startup after freeze
LK 3-hits 2600 knockdown/-31
MK 6-hits 3000 knockdown/-40
HK 7-hits 5800 knockdown/-70
Comes out very fast. The frame data is oddly missing, but it seems like 1 frame startup after freeze. Not very strong, but very high juggle potential. Tack these on after a godpress or grab super.
His trademark C cancel is level 2 this -> dive punch -> level 1 this in the corner.
From midscreen, it's uses become very limited. If you only have a level 1, 2 c lks into this, because a level 1 grab super won't combo.
Also, use this from a hit confirmed low jump instead of his P super, as this is much faster, so you will not have to do his coffin kick very deep. Also gives you more time to hit confirm.
If meter is available, ALWAYS tack this on to any godpress/p super.
Be warned, level 2 grab -> godpress -> level 1 DOES NOT work. This is because the first hits only have a juggle potential of 2, but his running grab is 2 hits, and you grabbed them out of the air instead of the ground (like in normal situations). Meaning you have exceeded the juggle potential of the first hit, and the others won't come out fast enough to pop them back up. So it'd just whiff. A shame, Rugal would be even more sick than he already is if he could do that.
All versions have 5 frame startup after freeze
LP 2-hits 3200 knockdown/-23
MP 3-hits 4600 knockdown/-23
HP 3-hits 6800 knockdown/-23
The huge damage super. One of the strongest in the game (in the same league as Shun-GokuSatsu, Gigaton Blow, etc). Unfortunately, it's plagued with the same problem as his regular grab. It's incredibly slow.
A level 1 is hardly faster than his normal grab. My suggestion, never use his level 1 grab super (except for level 2 grab -> level 1 grab).
His level 2 can combo off a far lk cancelled as soon as possible, but will have difficulty from a max ranged one. Cancel it off a st lk as that stuns 2 frames longer. Might have trouble comboing off an absolute max range non CH st mk, nothing to worry about. If possible, use this over his level 3. Also, I suggest cancelling it into the normal grab only, as his level 1 super grab isn't much stronger, and Rugal with no levels poses very little threat.
His level 3 is what you use most of the time. Trusty and very intimidating. It can punish a blocked Blanka ball, however, this requires very tight timing (almost reversal). Will never fail to combo off any lk. Rugal's game is largely based on landing this in most grooves. Very crucial that you can combo this off lks on reaction at any time.
DO NOT anti air with ANY of his P supers, as they have an even lower hitbox than his normal grab. Not even Sagat j hks. iIf you do go for it, it must be done very deep.
While a level 3 can combo off low jump coffin kick, it's hard and you have to do it relatively deep, losing the nigh instant overhead property that makes it so deadly. But it's not so bad. Just puts it on par with most character's low jump -> supers.
It isn't so bad off a cross-up low jump mk though. The startup is only 1 frame longer than Genocide Heaven, but GP has to travel for some frames first. After a cross-up lj mk they should be right in your face, effectively making it just about as fast as Genocide Heaven.
Bread and Butter Combos
Rugal unfortunately does not have a lot of this. Look at his super combos first, as those are far more important. But these are his last ditch options without meter...
c lk -> c lp -> c mp
Usually his strongest BnB. Also a good guard string. Can cancel the c mp into repu for more chip. It leaves you at -1, so you can either st mk and hope for low crush after, or if you don't think they'll press anything, c hk. st hk if you believe they're gonna jump afterwards.
c lk -> st lk -> lk genocide cutter
1000 or 2200 dmg (depending on how many hits of dp you get)
The only time you can even fathom of getting both hits is off a cross up j mk. You must be point blank at the first c lk. It's a pretty strong combo when you do it though, 3200 total. Not too shabby. But generally, it's good because it gets you the knockdown so you can play wakeup games. It may also work off a standing Sagat upper torso level dive punch.
WAKEUP COUNTER HIT PUNISH BnB
point blank meaty c/st lp -> st hp -> godpress
His st lp is probably his second best meaty, if nothing else because it becomes a decent margin'ed link into st hp. So sub that in if you think they're gonna stand up or cannot crouch it. The impractical part is the short time to hit confirm, and nothing perfectly safe to cancel into if blocked. HP repuken is your best bet if blocked. Otherwise, huge damage and corners AND knocks down.
far lp repuken -> sj hk -> st hk -> godpress
WAKEUP MEATY GC
cl st mk -> lk, c mp, or c hk -> (repu)
Cancelling into repu is never safe. If you do a lp repu, you can dash/run forward after them for another c mp/c hk.
BLOCK CONFIRM GC
c lk xN -> c hk -> (repu)
If you see c lks get blocked when going for super/BnBs.
WAKEUP MEATY GC 2
cl st mk -> reflector -> c mp, c mk, or c hk -> (repu)
Reflector leaves you at 0 frames, so you may want to sometimes press nothing after. Beware of 2 framers.
CORNER GC ENDERS
(far c mp, c/st lk) -> c hp or st hk
This is to hit jumpers.
RSX's CORNER GC
fp throw , lp reppuken, dash, c.mk xx reflector, c.lp, c.hk xx reppuken, c.hp
A variation of a similiar string done by this japanese guy. Ending c hp can be subbed for st hk vs non low jump grooves if you think they're gonna jump.
JAPANESE CORNER GC
knockdown -> meaty RC reflector -> cl st mk -> reflector -> cl st mk/c mk -> lp repu -> c hk -> any repuken (preferably mp/hp, as you're pretty far now) -> c hp/st hk
A guard string I saw in a japanese match once. Probably his most damaging guard string. If I remember right, he put the guy down from full bar to blinking. Might also consider dashing after the last repu for c mp -> repu. The only problem is that it has a ton of openings for the other guy to RC/roll/super. Use with discretion.
JAPANESE "INFINITE" CORNER GC vs no reversal or high pokes
c mp -> lp/mp repu -> dash/run -> (c mp -> repu -> dash/run) xN
In the video this was done on a Raiden with no meter. Because of the sick priority on c mp, the great frames repus leave you at, and his sick dash, this will work on any character without a fast high poke or ranged RC/invincible. lp repu -> run -> c mp will combo at certain ranges, so their only opening is after the c mp. Subbing a mp repu will tighten up that opening, and open a small window before the next c mp. Mix them up well and you're pretty solid. This works much better with run, as you can vary when you do the c mp also.
GENERAL GC ENDERS
c hp, st mk, st hp, st hk
s.mk would be the best choice, since it can't be punished hit or block in all cases, whereas fast supers can hit both versions of fp, and since it has decent recovery vs random rollers.
See normals section.
A good move, but if rolled through Rugal can be punished bad. The recovery is especially bad, so it done to close it's a free hit for your opponent. Not to mention, hit or block, fast lvl 3's can hit him.
Same problem as s.fp, but faster recovery. Best used at max range. More damage. Because of the hitbox, generally better priority. Also pushes back further. Use this more. Still a free faster super for the other guy.
far st mk
While statiscally, it has the same frame disadvantage as c hp, this is hugely because of its lack of hitstun. It's a much faster move, and unless the other guy is looking for it, they won't be able to hit you back.
Every repuken is an opening for someone with run and a good poke. This is because it comes out behind him. Example,K-Cammy very far away can run in and st hk Rugal and bite the repu in her favor everytime he throws one. Even when RC'ed, this will still happen because the RC runs out long before it reaches them. Solve this with RC hp repus (which are still safe and give you good frames).
THE BASIC COMBO
c lk x2 -> st lk -> level 2/3 Gigatech Pressure -> (L2 cancel hp godpress, genocide heaven for N/S grooves)
I wish I had a good excuse to put this at the beginning of this guide. This is the most fundamental and important thing to be able to do with Rugal. A huge part of his strength comes from being able to do beastly damage like that off hit confirmed c lks. Without being able to do this consistently on reaction, you cannot have a solid game with Rugal.
THE INFAMOUS C-groove 12k
lp repu -> sj hk -> st hk -> hp godpress -> L2 GH -> dive punch -> L1 GH
Just thought I'd list this second for the badass factor. His dizzy/GC combo. If they're close to being GC'ed, a good way to set this up is either hit a godpress or tick throw, distance yourself, meaty projectile (preferably repu). If you calculated it really good and know the repu is gonna GC, lp repu right after and get the full combo. Otherwise, use meaty lp repu, super jump after them and just do the combo. Unless you miscalculated quite bad, they should definitely be crushed by the st hk. Then you can wait and do st/c lp -> st hp -> godpress (or just st hk -> godpress, much easier) and go into the combo for about 11k of the max 12800ish damage. But really, this combo is more for being fancy than being practical. But it's good to be able to do this, because this, in most cases, will kill off any near full life character (hp ranges from 12800-15600).
The N-groove 12k
activate -> lp repu -> sj hk -> c lk -> c lp -> c mp -> L3 GP -> L1 GH
See above, except this is what an N groover would do.
WHIFF or LOW CRUSH PUNISH/P-groove BASIC COMBO
st mk -> L3 GP
Basic after parry combo for P-groovers. Other grooves can set it up off a whiff or low crush. A way to pseudo hit confirm this off a low crush is to press it out of range when you think they're gonna do a low, and always try to cancel into super. If they do stick a low out, they get low crushed and supered. Otherwise you whiff a fairly fast move you probably won't get punished for. Example, N-Rugal manages to pin Blanka into the corner and begins run rushing. As his c hp would be too slow given Rugal's frame advantage on his lights, he'll most likely press one of 2 of his faster pokes, c lk and c mk. Just when he thinks you're out of range and is about to run in again, you don't and press st mk -> super. He presses c mk and gets his foot stuffed by your foot and sees a super freeze and most likely dies afterwards. If he doesn't, he may see your poke, and press the only normal that would reach you at this point, c hp. The 7 (or was it 8?) frame startup and his mortal reflexes fail him and you block the c hp. Momentum gets reset to neutral.
DEAD METER COMBO
c lk -> c/st lk -> L1 GH
If you know 2 close c lks are gonna hit, you generally don't want to waste it cancelling into dp for a whopping 400 more damage. If you don't have a level 2 or 3 ready, I'd suggest you just use the level 1 and take the extra 2500ish damage right there, while it's guaranteed.
FREE GH SETUPS
corner reflector, corner dive punch, any godpress
Midscreen dark smash in C-groove
Juggle with lvl 2 GH, cancel 3rd hit into god press. Worth doing if you desperate need damage or if it will kill them.
These are his other setups for his corner juggle.
CH cl st mk -> reflector combos and is safe, so you may consider that after a wakeup throw or 2 to set them up for a nasty punish for guessing a tech throw wrong.
Below are some gameplans a Rugal player should consider.
The most recommended on SRK forums. Space them out, poke them, do some repukens and kaiser waves. He'll be a mini C-Sagat. Most recommended for C-Rugal and any anchor Rugal.
c mp range to a little farther than his c hp is the best defensive positioning for Rugal.
If you're using him in the user position, you probably would want to try this. The only problem is that a good number of characters are unrushable because they cover his offensive options too well (*cough*Cammy*COUGH*). However, because his fast dash and sick prioritied and powered running normals, he really isn't so bad at rushing. Combine it with one of the best lj hks in the game and a 1500 safe sweep, and corner GC strings that'll make even a Guile envious, this is an underrated option by many players. Yeah, Rugal's slower than most rushers. But he's not exactly Sluggy O' Speedless. He's also much stronger than most rushers, with huge damaged hit confirms off coffin kick or 3 frame long range c lks and a good frame advantage projectile, he's not too bad at it. Especially against characters slower than him, or when you really need the momentum, this works well.
With dash, you should be looking to do throw mixups into the corner to go into corner GC strings (or c lk super of course). With run, spray his appropiate poke crushes and use lp repus like mini-sonic booms. Because Rugal is so tall and his st mp comes out so fast, he should never have a problem keeping them grouded (unless they like being stabbed out of the air repeatedly for 1100).
From the air, you can inch in with long range lj coffin kicks (like Sagat), and mix in some dive punches.
The best positioning is that they're cornered and you're either in their face or at the proper range for his 12k combo (vary it into a GC combo). The latter will put you into the position of the former, where he can work his corner games revolving around RC reflector and lp repus.
There are 3 things that matter to Rugal's main playstyle, they are meter, dash or run, and low jump.
Tied for his best groove. He retains his RC and dash and has the best meter option available. C-Rugal is almost forced to play defensively/zoner for the most part (until you see openings to hit his combos of course). Without run or low jump, he has a relatively weak corner game cmopared to other Rugals, so cornering them isn't as much of a priority. However, if the opportunity arises (you hit super/godpress/good throws), remember he still does have a tough corner game with his RC reflector, meaties, and lp repus, and also the general spacing bonuses everyone gets over a corner opponent.
His other best groove, as shown by Namameso. Play him the same way in C, without the corner RC reflectors (do meaties/basic wakeup mixups instead). The deciding factor here is his low jump and parry threat. The low jump lets him have a sick high/low mixup, gives him another hit confirm into obscene damage, and also makes a stronger poke than c hp at a range. Every parry has to be turned into st mk -> super. The huge downside of P is that he'll only get one meter, and most likely one super per match due his problems getting meter. Parry threat is a lot weaker without super, reducing your options to a 1500 sweep at long range and c mk -> godpress for about 3000 a short range (as opposed to 9k from any). The sweep is nothing special over other P-characters, but the c mk -> godpress is humungous punish for a parry. Consider occassionally parrying a jumpin to drop their trip guard and c mk -> godpress them for a 3000 damage antiair.
Without RC to cover him, this weakens his rush game heavily (unless you start doing some crazy parrying). He does get the edge of having low jump and air parry. Though, zoner/defensive is still what you wanna stick with most of the time.
His third best groove. He has the best offensive options of all grooves in N. N defines RTSD for many characters, Rugal is no exception. He should look to guard crush with running normals, RC lp repus, lj hk, corner GC strings, and stock break. He will crush any character very quickly, and can then quickly break stock if for some reason it isn't already broken, and combo them for sickening 11k+ damage from the ground.
Because of this, he makes a very strong user (maybe anchor, if you're into rushdown anchors, but most don't recommend it). All his defensive options are still open to him, if not enhanced by his running.
The only downside is defensively, he won't be able to sit on a level 3, which is his biggest threat. Because of this, GC Rugal is more optimal.
Also, N has a LONG meter to get a level 1, so he also suffers from the 1 super combo rule of P to a lesser extent. Because of this, he must choose his stockbreaks with more discretion than other Ns.
N-Rugal is almost forced to play GC/RTSD, with his weak defensive threats. Also, this is to better control when and how you're using his stock breaks. His run is slower traveling than his dash, which takes away one option to setup his very strong 2000 P throws. While N is listed as his third best groove, it isn't that far behind C/P. It's only behind because of diminshed versatility in matchups, playstyle, and defensive threats (in short, unable to sit on 9k+ damage off lks/any mistake).
A nice gap between this and N. JD really doesn't help Rugal all that much, so basically he's N-groove stripped of rolling, level 1s, and when to decide to stock break. Rage, while it gives more bonuses than stock break, is guaranteed to make the other guy start running for his life if he's ever seen a Rugal level 3 before. He can get roughly 10k off c lks or godpress, it's about the same. He will have a very hard time landing a godpress under K-raged conditions, so hit confirming the first c lks into super becomes even more critical than normal. Rugal is decent at chasing down with N, but really, with all the holes in his offense, it's not that hard to avoid being hit with anything big if that's what the opponent really wants. Regardless, he still isn't bad as a ratio 1, especially in middle position. With some decent JDs and well playedness, using him wildly on the ratio 2 and hitting that super will give your anchor a tremendous lead, and then you can use Rugal's slightly improved zoning game (now with JDs) to stall for time and prevent them from getting back health.
To sum it up, it's a double edged N. Rage is better than stock, but his no rage damage potential completely sucks, and poses almost no threat. He simply doesn't gain the advantages other characters get in K, rather, he's like a double edged K character too. Really really sucky without meter, so dangerous when raged that everyone will run away.
A really really big gap between this and K. Except to suit other characters, Rugal gains no advantages from being in A-groove. He does a lot less damage than his other grooves and his CC is setup off his godpress mostly. Work very hard to hit a godpress for 8k damage in A, or 10k+ in C for less work, slightly more meter, and more versatility otherwise. Not to mention there are tons of better characters in A, and that he's not that great at gaining meter.
Just a very toned down C-groove. Rugal falls to lower mid tier in A.
The only people good in S are the ones with spammable level 1s. Rugal doesn't fit in that category. Like most people in the game, this is his worst groove. He especially sucks compared to other S characters because he's all about that one big money shot, not wasting hard earned c lks into 3k damage. And as always, he sucks when he's dead meter.
His low jump hk instant overheads on crouching Sagats and taller (check height data above).
Pseudo Hit-Confirm Low Crush -> Super
Like Third Strike characters (and Kyo to a lesser extent), his st mk removes the front part of his ground hitbox, at the same time, has a hitbox there, effectively beating any low hitting limb clean 100% of the time. If you think they're gonna go for an almost max range low, press st mk -> super. If they press it, their foot will miss you (cuz you lifted your lead foot), you'll kick their foot and slam them into some walls. If they don't, you whiffed a decently fast normal they probably won't punish you for.
His dash seems to have 0 frames of recovery after he stops moving and 0 frames of startup before he starts moving. The frame data on it would be 0/##/0, if you consider movement frames as "hitting" frames (NOTE: actual frame data unknown). This means if you link them perfectly, he'll resemble MvC2 Magneto.
The 0 frame recovery is also perfectly for dash up throws, c lks, meaties, RC, sweep, desperation dash in -> RC godpress, etc.
Example, you can do c lk -> wait -> c lk x2 -> dash forward -> throw/more c lks/RC, until you finally hit something. Obviously, it isn't foolproof.
Meaty Knee Fake
His close st lk and st mks look identical, however, their actual frame data is a world of difference. Obviously, the lk is tons faster and stuns a lot shorter. Use lk early to bait DP, or late for tick throw or Ken style delayed lk chains. Very good for mental pressure.
Effective Godpress Cancel Range
His godpress will always combo off a point blank c lk and his close standing mk/hp/hks. However, when cancelling from a c mp or mk (the most common cancel into special normals in any Capcom 2D fighter), you have to be careful, because on a non CH, it will not combo if your c mk leg is less than half inside the other guy on impact. A CH only gives you a slightly larger margin. Hitting a whiffed DP with a c mk -> uncombo'ed godpress is one of the worst mistakes you can make. The solution? Dash forward first or if you have run, run in for a close st hp (cl st hk only comes out at almost point blank). If neither of those are an option, either use the meter for at least a level 2 grab, do a godpress alone, or just sweep them for 1500+CH bonus.
Godpress Distance Properties
Depending on several factors, Rugal end up at a different distance from an opponent after a hit godpress. The further you are from the target and further you both are from the corner to be slammed, the further Rugal will end up. This is important because in certain cases, Genocide Heaven will NOT reach. There's also a sweet spot where it will reach, and allow you to cancel into a whiffed lk genocide cutter on the last ground hit, then hit them with both hits of a hk genocide cutter for a 2 levels only, more damaging and uberly combo video flashy C-cancel combo. A demo of this is available at Majestros's site (www.sonichurricane.com) in the reversal video.
Guaranteed c lks
Not really guaranteed, but because of the humungous hitstun on his dive punch, if it ever gets JD'ed at a proper distance (that is, you're not doing something retarded and aiming at a standing Sagat's head), you can hit them with c lks before they come out of JD stun (which unlike normal blocking, they cannot freely stand/crouch block).
His normal antiairs aren't perfect (though work better than Guile's), and RC godpress to AA is very tricky to pull, putting yourself at great risk. So, if you have the lead and only need to turtle on it, and want to guarantee yourself that you won't take damage, throw a RC lp repuken. It works almost exactly like a Guile RC lp sonic boom anti-air, except since it's a ground projectile, it will never knockdown and is less effective. Rugal can, however, tag on a free normal after for a very nice damage anti-air.
The Better lk Cancel
His far st lk stuns exactly 2 frames longer than his c lk, and is 200 damage stronger. This is critical when cancelling into a level 2 grab super, because it will not combo if you cancel too slow or some too far. Therefore, when doing c lks -> super, always end the lk chain with st lk. Not only will it be more damage and safer, it means you've already inputted the qcf part of the motion, and therefore have less work the finish the cancel, essentially cancelling faster, making it even more safe.
His c hp moves his head down and forwards, effectively removing his hitbox here. He's still pretty tall, however, there's one very critical use for this, and that's anti-airing a far Sagat j hk to the head. Rugal will duck the kick and reach under to stab Sagat in his back leg. May also work for other j hks with similar properties, though I can't think of any at this moment.
Magic Anti-Low Jump
His c mp, for some odd reason, seems to beat every low jump normal in the game clean timed right, except in the case of a Sagat lj hk to the head, in which case you use the above.
When In Doubt...
Press c mp. It comes out in a swift 4 frames and will stuff almost all lower mids, and decent trade with most mids. Unless of course, you think they're gonna go low. In which case, scroll up to the low crush trick.
When In Desperation...
One of the best parts about Rugal is that, having a ridiculously easy 10k+ damage combo and an almost 13k power combo, you literally can never count him out of the match, even when he's at 1 pixel and the other guy is at full health.
When you severely need to gain ground, RC godpress to anti-air. I know I said it was extremely risky and tight, but hey, drastic times call for drastic measures. Think about it, if you mess up, they might throw you or BnB you. If you get it right, you take off at least 2/3 their life (in most cases, you take off more).
Also, RC godpress to crush hards instead of the proper normal. It's always high risk to RC a non-safe on block move, but in Rugal's case, the rewards and situation will make it worth it. I strongly suggest you do this at the end of guard strings which almost always end with a hard.
If they're turtling on their lead, use your uber 0/##/0 dash to chase them down and abuse your closer pokes and 2000 damage punch throw to death. I've pulled crazy antics like P throw -> dash x3 -> P throw -> dash x3 -> whiff cl st lk -> option select -> throw -> dash x3 -> ken lks -> super before to kill near full life characters. 3 P throws and one c lk level 3 combo will do 14.5k to 15k damage (depending on whether you level 2 cancel or use a level 3). So with Rugal, the match is never ever lost. Especially with C Rugal, who'll get an extra 300 damage off the aforementioned sequence cuz of the 5% damage bonus he sits on. 3 less chips to finish off a full life high health opponent.
If they're rushing with lights in fear of RC godpress, you're gonna have to RC reflector. It's not much damage since they most likely aren't cornered, but it'll give you the knockdown to setup his throw and 10k.
Bad matchup for Rugal, but I'd say only 3/7. Which isn't so bad compared to his really bad matchups.
Non-RC Blanka turns this into a 6/4 matchup in your favor, but seeing as those are ridiculously rare...well, you know.
The main problems of this matchup is Blanka's air and defensive superiority over Rugal. He can get in on you easily, but it's actually very hard to get in on Blanka, who's PHD of running away is only second to Rolento.
Optimal Play-style: zone- close to close/mid range
You want to keep Blanka close, as his pokes aren't much of a threat to you, however, his normal/super jump hk is. Force him to a distance where you can antiair him really early or where he's forced to use j mk. Rugal is one of the only characters who prefer dealing with that broken crossup over the broken hk.
The reason the j hk gives you so much trouble is because it will beat your st mp clean if you press it at the normal time (believe me, I use Blanka, I rape Rugals with him). Because of Blanka's fast jump, it's hard to use the far st hk, which will trade even most of the time anyways. His j hp doesn't have good horizontal reach, and if he's using j hk he's at a decently far distance, meaning your only viable means of antiairing a j hk is jump forward hp. Not generally the greatest idea ever. If he ever gets in that range for j hk (believe me, he will, no matter how good you are), you're gonna have to risk throwing AA RC lp repus. Unless you're P. Parry solves all problems, as always.
The j mk is much easier to deal with. On top jump ins st mp. Cross ups, crouch, wait, cl st hk/hp/early mp after he crosses you. Very easy.
Low jump rule applies to Blanka, c mp every low jump to death.
vs blocked ball
The second thing you need to learn vs Blanka is to hit that blocked ball every time. DO NOT reversal level 3 it. Because of the low hitbox you actually have to wait a few frames first so he catchs Blanka near the ground.
However, if they're doing balls that are blocked, they're usually doing it because they see you don't have a level 3, and believe that you can't punish them. Especially when you block low. They're in for a rude awakening.
If blocked standing, a reversal c hp will do.
Blocked crouching you need to reversal walk forward a pixel or 2 and IMMEDIATELY c hp. I've seen Rugals with run try to reversal run and c hp. Personally, I think walking is just easier. It's tighter frames yeah, but reversal walking is braindead easy, meaning you only need to justframe df+hp right after you see Rugal move his feet, which should be easy, especially if you've played Tekken games or Virtua Fighter. Reversal run is an awkward 1 framer with no visual cues, and you gotta quickly do df+hp anyways, lest Blanka recovers. Whatever you do, DO NOT whiff a c hp because you didn't walk forward yet or didn't run cuz you double tapped early (that happens a lot, which is why I prefer reversal walking). That poke may be decently safe on a block, but it's no Sagat c hp that you can just spam all day and not care if it hits or not.
DO NOT attempt to punish a blocked Direct Lightning UNLESS you standblock and reversal level 3 to punish it. You may wanna just take the block damage, as it does require extremities to punish, and you do not get the CH bonus on the big hits. Definitely do it if it'll finish him off. But do remember the risks of having a no meter Rugal in a bad matchup. Use it or not, the fact that it's there will make the matchup easier for you cuz it'll force the other guy to be more conservative.
vs RC electricity
The bane of 90% of the characters in the game. Rugal is no exception. Even non-RC elec is problematic for ground Rugal (dark smash beats it clean). At certain ranges, c mp and c hk beat it clean. But kinda hard to set that up when 1. you can't move backwards 2. they're in your face.
My suggestion? Eat the block damage, press st mk -> super them back because you know they're pressing a low right after. Occassionally they might hop in or jump in, in which case your st mk will hit a hopper or sometimes come back in before they can whiff punish you from the air (depends on them mostly). If you don't think they're going low, just press st mk alone. If you somehow know they're gonna jump, obviously, press st hk.
In desperate times, reversal RC godpress isn't a bad idea if they're trying to wake up RC elec you. Because of the laggy startup, it'll wear down their RC frames nicely. They may also have stopped pressing P and stop electricity altogether.
Otherwise (which is most cases), roll away or RC lp repu to stop wakeup RC elec. Or, more preferably, just take the block damage and do the above.
The Poking Game
You're gonna have to block and just watch what kind of pokes the Blanka you're playing is using first.
Any low is, obviously, open ground for low crush. This includes the ever annoying slide. Depending on range, from closest to farthest, it may mean a free c hk, st mk -> super, c hp, or nothing at all. But if they're at the range for a maximum range slide, you didn't space them properly to begin with.
His c hp is the least of your worries actually. You're c mp and st lp stuff it clean, so if they're ending poke strings with it, press c mp (and super, if it'll kill him). st lp is better to stuff random far c hp attempts because it's 2 frames meatier (6 over c mp's 4), and of course, is much safer.
His st lp and st mp are the most problematic. The relatively crappy frames of his st lp makes it less problematic. You can just RC something in between or press c lk or something. The st mp, like many characters, there really isn't anything Rugal can do about it. Except...
Spacing Sweet Spot
One of the reasons this matchup is so hard is because your sweet spacing spot is extremely tight, and Blanka is so good at moving around. The perfect distances are as follows:
Point blank <-> your crossup/low jump hk range Inside his c hp range but out of st mp <-> inside c hp, out of c hk range
Generally, you want to stay in that first one and keep the pressure on. If they start RC elec AAing, you'll need to dive punch past them to avoid it or switch to dash/run rushing. His defensive position is very awkward, but it makes perfect sense thinking about it. When Blanka is in that second range, he pretty much has 2 options, c hp or jump in with mk. Both of which Rugal can deal with easily. The c hk can also be dealt with, though not as easily. If you ever find yourself in a bad position (you can't reach with your faster pokes but he can reach you with st mp and c mk, etc), dash backwards. His j hk, as bad news as it is for you, you have options to at least reset positioning from that. If he st mps you, you're at his mercy for whatever he's gonna do next (usually c hp or c hk). Granted, you're not exactly gonna die from it, but Blanka GCs pretty fast and you shouldn't blocking things unneccessarily like that. The last thing Rugal wants is to be pressured by a bad matchup.
Smart Super Usage
Let's start with P groove. P should hit the super the first chance you get. Simple, cuz parry seriously fucks up Blanka. Especially when you have a 1500 sweep and a 2300 godpress, and 3500 combo into godpress (on Blanka's slower pokes, Rugal WILL have time to reversal dash in CH c mk -> godpress, though, this is by no means easy). So P can keep the pressure with or without meter.
Every other groove really needs to make that meter count, so you shouldn't be looking to hit c lk -> super as much as say, cl st mk -> godpress. First of all, a level 3 will stop them from doing those annoying random balls. It'll make them much more passive at close range, essentially limiting his own options, making him easier to predict.
Of course, this doesn't mean to not use the super. What you wanna do is chip them away with normals first to soften them up. After you use up the level 3, you'll probably notice that they'll play far more aggressive. So use it when it'll finish them off or put them near death. ALWAYS do the 10k, because that'll most likely put them near death anyways, and also because it's probably the reason you're using Rugal.
Anyways, after they're cornered, this matchup becomes much easier without Blanka being able to back KK hop safely in his j hk/slide range.
Generally, with Rugal's huge damage normals and super, stuff them 2 or 3 times with just the proper normal (c hp stuffage excluded, do that all day to harrass them). On the 4th or 5th offense, it's usually good enough to super (off low crushes, usually, or blocked ball if they're being kinda suicidal). This is because most likely, you're not gonna stuff them more than 3 times (unless they're retarded...), so any more is really a gift that's inviting you to super them which you should accept.
After stopping their options and creating passivity, you can push in more of an offense and throw them a bit, do some low jump hk, maybe even GC into 10k, but the point is after they stop pressing buttons, you can work your normal offensive game, and hence, should be looking to hit c lk -> super now, after milking all the damage you can out of the sheer pressure of having the level 3.
This ridiculous sounding tactic only works specific to Blanka, as Rugal doesn't have the luxury of having any counter -> super options to other characters' main games.
One of Rugal's best top tier matchups. Which, isn't much to celebrate about, because this is a 5/5 matchup.
Optimal Style: pokes o' plenty
Oddly, Sagat is one character you will have a very hard time getting in for Rugal's point blank games. That's fine, because Rugal miraculously has an answer for almost every poke. In fact, you wanna play footsies with Sagat. Up close his 2 frame +5 st lps cause problems for you.
With some good reflexes, almost all of Sagat's poke, if any ever whiffs, is a free normal for Rugal. For hps, use c hp. For lows, st mk their foot before it goes back in. It isn't practical to whiff punish st lks, but you can do something better...
vs st lk
If the Sagat ever presses st lk, it'll be for 2 reasons. You got in very close and he's uncomfortable being in range for your c lks and he's trying to push you away, or as a random poke at nigh max range. The first case you can't do anything about, but it's pretty harmless anyways. The second case should be predictable generally, and you should press st hk before impact. Rugal will raise his front foot, remove the hitbox for that leg, and smack Sagat for a whopping 1500+CH bonus. Even if you miscalculate and he kicks your back leg, you're only taking like 400 damage. One or two of these will get him to stop press st lk to poke.
vs c lk/mk
Typical lows. st mk -> super that shit.
vs c hp
The dreaded c hp is very unfeared by Rugal. c mp timed right stuffs it completely, but generally, I'd rather press c hp. c mp if you mispredict or time it early you're getting whiff punished. c hp, the first hit stuffs Sagat's c hp, if Sagat doesn't press hp or presses it late, the 2nd hit will either poke him away or CH him.
vs st hp
Sagat's counter to your c hp. I hate this move. No matter when he presses it, it'll stuff your c hp clean. Even when it's going back in (#%$#&%[email protected]%$!!!!). Because of this, whiff punishing it is risky. However, Sagat moves his front foot forward, which puts you in the perfect position to duck the fierce and c hk him for 1500+CH. I still prefer whiff punish as that's more guaranteed, and reacting to hit a normal while it's still out is hard. But if you can react that fast, c hk is much better.
vs st mk
The only poke Rugal has a hard time answering. If you followed my groove suggestions, you'll either have RC or parry. RC hp repus are always a good choice, and parry solves all problems. I believe c mp does stuff his kick clean, but with its awkward hit frames and c hp's unmeaty 3 hitting frames, it's also a bit risky. Forunately, it's a relatively harmless poke.
st hk vs Sagat
If Sagat is ever wiggling at a distance, st hk is the best choice. If he presses st lk he's done. If he presses st hp, you'll either stuff him or trade. st mk will get stuffed or beat you clean. c hp always beats you clean though. Also stops runners.
vs crouching Sagat
If he's crouching, c hp would be the better choice, or st mk if you think he's gonna go low. If you have low jump, lj coffin kick is SICK on Sagat. Also remember that if he's in range, lj hk is instant overhead.
If his j hk is going to your head, c hp to duck it and stab his foot. Otherwise, st hk as early as possible.
His cross up is slightly problematic, you'll need to either stand and use your height to prevent him from crossing you up and st mp him, or if he's crossing up a little farther, it's better to duck and let him cross you, then st hk to trade with his j lk. Theoretically, you can also wait and c mp, but personally, I did not find sucess with that.
Tiger Raid punish
Tiger Raid leaves Sagat at -4. Your c lk comes out in 3. You have 1 frame to do it, and then you have 2 choices.
c lk -> godpress -> C-combo
c lk x3 -> st lk -> gigatech pressure
Critical on N and K Sagats that love to do random empty jump tiger raids.
Dealing with high tiger shots
I saw Namameso do this. He would predict a high tiger shot and c hp Sagat's hand from 2/3 screen distance away. A very interesting counter. Will certainly stop Sagat from throwing them.
Otherwise, you'll just have to crouch it til it passes and inch in slowly.
Dark Smash uses
Dark Smash (dive punch) will beat/trade a tiger uppercut not done as late as possible. Also, it can be used to bait a tiger cannon. This is one of those rare times you want to use the mp and hp versions to throw off their timing. Whiff some lp ones at a safe distance/situation first to condition them. Might cost you to eat a tiger uppercut or 2 before you set it up, but if you manage to make it work, you'll look like a genius (except you're not, cuz it's my tactic =P). Traded it'll be about even. The point of this is to 1. bait tiger cannon and waste his meter or 2. they're near the corner and you use it to setup the 10k 3. the Sagat isn't exactly in the international top 30 and gets intimidated and hence, stops DPing properly.
Weak K spoiled Sagats will probably JD it, which means free c lks and 10k damage for you.
Evening the score
It's no uncommon that the Rugal will find himself with less health than Sagat. Fortunately, turning the tables with Rugal is incredibly easy.
A Sagat far j hk is the easiest jump in in the game to anti air with RC godpress. And as you well know, that's a free 10k.
Sagat's reliance on tight links and predictable guard strings is also very inviting to RC in between. Don't RC godpress inbetween lks though, wait for the c hp. Otherwise the Sagat might just whiff the lk and block your grab, leaving you in deep trouble.
c mp -> super to stuff and heavily punish his predicted c hp.
A little bit closer, c mk -> super can be used to punish whiffed st hp.
st mk is open season for RC godpress.
In P, parry solves all problems, gives you free godpresses left and right, and lj hk -> super is incredibly effective on Sagat.
Don't forget Rugal's general tricks (meaty RC reflector, close st mk/lk games, empty jump c lks, etc.).
M. Bison(Raul Julia)
MP: Orange Brown
HP: Green (The Riddler)
MK: Lavender (Pimpin')
HK: Black (Businessman)
KKK: White (Wedding Suit)