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Capcom vs SNK 2/Rugal/Strategy
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.
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).